Majority of ballots name Kelly association's executive director

Updated: October 24, 2007, 11:47 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

TORONTO -- Hockey's union started a new chapter on Wednesday, introducing Paul Kelly as the new executive director of the NHL Players' Association.

"I really do believe that it's a new day. I want it to be a positive relationship between the NHL Players' Association and the league," Kelly told The Canadian Press. "I think we owe it to the fans to put that lockout/work stoppage and all of those issues behind us -- to focus on the game, win back our traditional fans, develop new young fans, do a better job of marketing our young stars of the game, do a better job of the TV coverage and the media attention particularly down in the United States."

Kelly was nominated for the job during a conference call with the 30 player representatives last week, but wasn't confirmed for the position until he received a majority vote from the reps in a secret ballot vote that was completed Tuesday.

The Boston lawyer replaces Ted Saskin, who was fired as executive director last May amid allegations he ordered the spying of NHLPA player e-mail in the midst of a membership uprising against his leadership.

"I don't want to dwell on the past," Kelly said during a news conference at a downtown Toronto hotel.

A five-player committee, which consisted of Eric Lindros, Chris Chelios, Mike Cammalleri, Shawn Horcoff and Robyn Regehr, got help from Chicago search firm Reilly Partners and interviewed a long list of candidates before recommending Kelly.

"In Boston where I'm from, for example, we've got the Red Sox, we've got the Patriots and we've got the Celtics with some new players, and the Bruins have kind of become a whole lot less relevant," Kelly said, according to The Canadian Press. "There's a lot of work to be done but I want to see the Bruins get back so that they are on a par with the Red Sox and the Patriots. And that's just one city.

"My view is, we've got to move forward together with the league and that's what I hope to do."

Kelly was a partner at Kelly, Libby & Hoopes, a Boston law firm that specializes in internal investigations and complex civil and administrative litigation. He previously served as an assistant U.S. attorney for the District of Massachusetts, and was involved in the investigation of former NHLPA leader Alan Eagleson.

Kelly was also Marty McSorley's lawyer when the former NHL defenseman was charged with assault with a weapon by Vancouver authorities after he hit Donald Brashear in the head with a stick.

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