Penny Named Interim NHLPA Head

Hours after ousting Executive Director Paul Kelley, the NHLPA named Ian Kelley as their interim head.

From Canadian news outlet TSN:

Ian Penny has been unanimously named as Interim Executive Director of the National Hockey League Players' Association.

He had previously held the role of General Counsel for the union.

Sources tell TSN Penny is not interested in the position on a fulltime basis and only took the title in order to give the NHLPA a point person during the coming days.

With the hiring of Penny, the NHLPA hopes to regain stability as they search for a new permanent director to lead the group in the upcoming 2011 contract negotiations with the NHL. NHLPA Ombudsan Buzz Hargrove believes the job to be up for grabs.

I talked to almost all the players before they left at noon today and no one had a suggestion. They really are saying that we need to do a search and we have to reach out outside of the organization, unless somebody surfaces that we haven't yet identified.

The surprise firing of Kelley was yet another setback for the players association as they try to regain credibility with the fans and could be just the beginning of more hard times to follow. As From the Rink reported,

The NHLPA's chances of finding a better candidate to lead them into 2011's labour war in the near future are realistically slim to none. And you better believe the owners are licking their lips right now at that thought.

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