Players Select Paul Kelly as NHLPA Executive Director
TORONTO - The National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA) today announced that Paul V. Kelly has been named as its new Executive Director. The search process, conducted by a five-member committee of NHLPA members and the executive search firm Reilly Partners of Chicago, culminated with the introduction of Kelly at today’s media conference in Toronto.
“It is a distinct honour and privilege to be chosen by the players to serve as the Executive Director of their union,” said Kelly “I look forward to advocating tirelessly for the membership as we prepare to enter what I believe will be an exciting and prosperous new chapter for the NHLPA.
“The members of this Association are the hardest working athletes in professional sports. They are passionate, principled and proud, and I hope to reflect those traits through my own efforts in this role,” added Kelly. “There is much work to be done, but together, working with all of the stakeholders involved with this tremendous sport, the NHLPA will play an integral role in strengthening this game.”
Kelly, 52, comes to the NHLPA following a successful career as an accomplished trial lawyer in Massachusetts. As a founding member of the Boston firm Kelly, Libby and Hoopes, Kelly and his partners have successfully represented several high profile clients in both state and federal courts. Together with his seven years at Kelly, Libby and Hoopes, Kelly has over 25 years of experience as an attorney, including the handling of cases involving past and current NHLPA members.
Notably, Kelly devoted nearly five years to investigating and prosecuting racketeering and fraud charges against former NHLPA Executive Director Alan Eagleson. The evidence would demonstrate that Eagleson engaged in unlawful misconduct, grossly violating the trust of NHLPA members.
“Paul relentlessly pursued a breach of ethics in this union, and that knowledge of our history will undoubtedly drive him to restore integrity to this position and to our Association,” said Chris Chelios of the Detroit Red Wings. “His resume is beyond impressive and he is passionate about protecting our best interests. We are excited about what awaits us going forward.”
The selection of Mr. Kelly by the members of the NHLPA brings conclusion to a comprehensive process that saw Reilly Partners, an executive search firm based in Chicago, Illinois and the five-member search committee of current NHLPA members including Mike Cammalleri (L.A. Kings), Chris Chelios (Detroit Red Wings), Shawn Horcoff (Edmonton Oilers), Eric Lindros (UFA), and Robyn Regehr (Calgary Flames), examine hundreds of potential candidates before unanimously recommending Paul Kelly to the membership.
“During the review and consultation period of this search, Paul Kelly’s name kept coming back to the top of the list as the prime candidate to take us forward,” said Shawn Horcoff of the Edmonton Oilers. “A number of highly qualified candidates were evaluated and interviewed, but at the end of the process, we were unanimous in selecting Paul as the candidate to take back to the membership. His tremendous legal credentials, in addition to his past involvement with players and our Association, really stood out.”
An avid fan of both professional and collegiate hockey, Kelly played the sport throughout his scholastic career at the youth, high school, and college intramural levels. He then made the transition to the coaching side, devoting over a decade to teaching young people the game, including five years coaching youth hockey and seven as the Head Coach of a high school team in Needham, Massachusetts.
Kelly, who is married and has four daughters, will begin his tenure with the NHLPA effective immediately, working out of the Association’s downtown Toronto office.
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