The NHL Players Association overwhelmingly agreed to allow its board of executives to file a disclaimer of interest, according to a report by Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press on Friday afternoon. The vote was 97 percent in favor, according to SportsNet's Nick Kypreos.
The players participated in a vote that began on Dec. 16 and concluded on Friday, which would determine whether the union's executive board would be given the power to step away as the union's representation. In order for the vote to pass, two-thirds of the players would need to vote in the affirmative.
By stepping away from the union's representation, the players could potentially pursue anti-trust litigation against the NHL. The ultimate goal of this type of action would be to have a court rule that the NHL's lockout is illegal.
The NHL has already prepared for this type of recourse and filed a lawsuit against the NHLPA in New York last Friday, which requested that the lockout be ruled legal.
Despite the players' passing the vote, it does not mean that the executive board will file the disclaimer; it merely means they have the option to. The NHLPA will have until Jan. 2 to do so.