NHL players vote to start process of dissolving union

Updated:

PITTSBURGH —

The NHL Players‘ Association took a significant step toward dissolving its union on Friday.

The NHLPA has voted to give the union‘s executive board a “disclaimer of interest,” which essentially gives board members the authority to disband the union.

During its labor dispute last season, the NBA Players‘ Association used a similar tactic and soon resolved its differences with the league.

NHL players were given five full days to vote.

The executive board has until Jan. 2 to make a decision on the union‘s future, though it remains what and when will happen next.

Friday represents Day 97 of the NHL‘s lockout, and the 2012-13 regular season is now in strong jeopardy of being canceled.

“I certainly hope we play this season and I hope all the fans here in Pittsburgh still come back and support us,” Penguins defenseman Ben Lovejoy said. “NHL fans are a special breed, and they deserve better than this. The NHL and NHLPA will both have a lot of butt kissing to do to the fans when this is all over.”

When this will all be over, of course, is anybody‘s guess.

No negotiations are scheduled between NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and NHLPA executive director Don Fehr.

Should the NHLPA disband, players would be legally permitted to file an antitrust lawsuit against the league.

NHL games through Jan. 14 are now canceled.

This article was written by Channel 11’s news exchange partners at TribLIVE.