Gartner resigns in light of current union turmoil

Updated: March 20, 2007, 11:54 AM ET
Associated Press

TORONTO -- Hall of Famer Mike Gartner resigned from the NHL Players' Association on Monday night, about a week after two top union officials were placed on leave because of allegations they ordered the monitoring of NHLPA player e-mail.

Gartner began a conference call with the players' executive board with his announcement that he was leaving as the NHLPA's director of hockey affairs. He had been with the union for eight years.

"This decision was made with careful thought and consideration and has been contemplated over an extended period of time," Gartner said in a statement. "I leave with great reservation due to my long-standing involvement with the Players' Association and in light of the current circumstances affecting the union. I am sincerely troubled by the recent revelations and am hopeful that the Association can move forward and be restored to a level of respect worthy of its members."

NHLPA executive director Ted Saskin and senior director Ken Kim were placed on paid leave March 11.

The player reps voted to retain outside counsel to "address the employment issues surrounding Mr. Saskin and Mr. Kim," the union said in a statement.

Toronto attorney Chris Paliare will counsel the executive board on whether to pay off whatever severance package Saskin and Kim are entitled to or whether there are grounds to fire them.

An internal review in the hiring of Saskin is also ongoing.

The turmoil within the union ranks follows a contentious labor agreement that saw the union yield to a salary cap.

Gartner joined the NHLPA in 1999 as its director of business relations following a 19-year playing career. Gartner helped improve the pensions for current and former players. Gartner was named director of hockey affairs in 2006.


Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press