Group files grievance over goalie pad change

Updated: May 11, 2004, 8:14 PM ET
Associated Press

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.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press