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Group files grievance over goalie pad change

5/11/2004 - NHL

TORONTO -- The NHL Players' Association has filed a
grievance over the league's proposal to reduce the width of
goaltenders' pads.

If the rule change is approved by league owners this summer, the
width of goalie pads will be reduced from 12 inches to 10.

The grievance was filed May 4.

"While the NHLPA does not oppose the examining of changes to
goaltender equipment, any proposed changes need to be done with the
consent of the NHLPA," the association said in a statement.

Colin Campbell, NHL vice president and director of hockey
operations, wasn't pleased.

"This wasn't some knee-jerk reaction," Campbell told Canada's
TSN. "Maybe the [NHLPA] should check with their players on this
because the players, the skaters, they think this is a good idea.
The PA had representatives [Steve Larmer, Mike Gartner and Al
MacInnis] at the meeting where this was decided."

At the annual general managers meeting in Las Vegas in February,
Campbell spearheaded the plan to reduce goalie pads in an effort to
increase scoring.

But Larmer disputed Campbell's claim that the NHLPA was involved in
the talks, saying it told league officials, including Campbell,
that it wouldn't take part in formal discussions about the size of
goalie equipment at the meetings because of a pending grievance.

"It is disappointing that the league didn't work with the
goaltenders and the NHLPA on these issues," Larmer said in a
statement. "On more than one occasion since the GM meetings, the
NHLPA approached league officials to arrange meetings with a group
of goaltenders to discuss equipment issues. The league refused to
meet."

The NHLPA previously filed a grievance over the league's changes
to the knee boards and length of the pads in September 2003. But
the league fired the arbitrator on Sept. 1, 2003, so the
grievance has not been heard.