The NHL Players Association has authorized its executive board to file a disclaimer of interest.
But will it be filed? That’s still to be determined.
The NHL players voted this week to authorize the use of the disclaimer of interest, according to several media outlets including ESPN.com and TSN. The 30-man NHLPA board now must decide before Jan. 2 whether to file it, in effect dissolving the union.
If the union is dissolved and the NHLPA no longer represents the players, the players would be able to seek class-action anti-trust litigation against the NHL. NBA players made the same move last year during the league’s respective collective bargaining dispute.
The NHL players voted on the authorization during a five-day period that ended Friday. The NHLPA said it would have no announcement Friday about the final results of the vote.
The NHL viewed the union’s consideration of a disclaimer as a potential collective bargaining tool for the players. After the NBPA filed its disclaimer of interest, the NBA lockout ended within two weeks.
In what was seen as a preemptive move by the league, the NHL last week filed a class-action lawsuit in federal court seeking a declaration that the lockout is legal. It also filed an unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board.
The players have been locked out since Sept. 15, when the CBA expired. No collective bargaining negotiations were held Friday between the league and union, and none are scheduled.
The NHL has canceled all regular-season games through Jan. 14, including the 2013 Winter Classic.