NHL players vote in step toward dissolving union

NHL players are a step closer to dissolving their union.

Union members voted this week to give the players' association's executive board the power to file a "disclaimer of interest" until Jan. 2.

A person familiar with the outcome of the vote told The Associated Press on Friday that the measure passed easily, drawing more than two-thirds majority that was necessary. However, the executive board hasn't made plans yet to meet to discuss whether to file the disclaimer. If the Jan. 2 deadline passes, another authorization vote could be held to approve a filing at a later date.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the results of the vote had not been announced.

If the executive board files the disclaimer, the union would dissolve and become a trade association. That would allow players to file antitrust lawsuits against the NHL.

Negotiations between the NHL and the union have been at a standstill since talks ended Dec. 6. No bargaining is scheduled, and time is running short to save the season. All games through Jan. 14 have been canceled, more than half the season. The New Year's Day Winter Classic and All-Star game already are victims of the lockout.

The NHLPA now appears set to follow the lead set by NFL and NBA players. Both dissolved their unions during lockouts last year.

- Associated Press

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