The NHL's labor dispute is going to court.
Late this afternoon, the NHL announced its intention to have the ongoing lockout declared legal, a preemptive move designed to counter the possibility the NHL Players' Association will file a disclaimer of interest.
If the NHLPA did so, it would no longer represent the players, who would be free to challenge NHL clubs with individual anti-trust lawsuits.
The league also submitted an unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board because of the threat that a disclaimer of interest will be filed by the union.
Here is the text of the league's statement:
"Today, in response to information indicating that NHL Players have or will be asked to vote to authorize the National Hockey League Players' Association's Executive Board to proceed to "disclaim interest" in continuing to represent the players in collective bargaining, the National Hockey League filed a class action complaint in federal court in New York seeking a declaration confirming the ongoing legality of the lockout.
"Simultaneously with the filing of its complaint, the NHL also filed an unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board, alleging that by threatening to "disclaim interest," the NHLPA has engaged in an unlawful subversion of the collective bargaining process and conduct that constitutes bad faith bargaining under the National Labor Relations Act."
There was no immediate response from the NHLPA.
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman imposed the lockout Sept. 16, one day after the collective bargaining agreement expired.
Dave Molinari: email@example.com