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Why Marty Walsh Left Biden to Run the NHL Players Association

Marty Walsh He was in no hurry to get out of the Biden administration.

Less than halfway through his presidency, Mr. Walsh had a comfortable position in the Cabinet as secretary of labor. Then he got a call about his interesting opportunity. NHL players meeting.

Former mayor Boston And a longtime Bruins fan was intrigued, accepting the role as executive director earlier this year. Three months later, Walsh is trying to get to know his players and what they care about most, learning about everything from the state of the Arizona Coyotes arena to salary caps to future international competition. I’m listening.

“This job is more like mayor,” Walsh said in a wide-ranging interview with the Associated Press during the Stanley Cup finals in Las Vegas. “You wake up in the morning and you plan for a good day, and suddenly a problem arises, and that is the immediate problem. Even if there is one celebration, the celebration will not last long because we are working on the next issue.”

The current collective bargaining agreement is in effect through the 2025-26 season, with the most pressing issue set to enter a second season at the 5,000-seat rink on the Arizona State University campus after Tempe’s new stadium referendum was rejected. of coyotes. .

Walsh has met more Arizona players than any of the nearly 200 members he’s spoken to.

“These are National Hockey League players who play in college arenas,” Walsh said. “It’s not right that players who are in the prime of their careers are going to play in this arena for a few seasons, and it’s not good for the game.”

When Walsh talks to players, he reveals what they think is good for the game and what they think is not so good. While some, like Conor McDavid, are prioritizing returning to the Olympics after a long absence and scheduling the Hockey World Cup, others are concerned about higher caps and curbing escrow payments.

Months after helping the U.S. avert a nationwide railroad strike, the job is reminiscent of Mr. Walsh’s days as president of the Massachusetts union Local 223. Players between the ages of 18 and 38 are at different stages of their careers and, like other workplaces, there is diversity in the interests of NHLPA members, he said.

“One of the things I learned quickly is that this is a true union because each player has different concerns,” Walsh said. “And I think it’s important for me to get to know my members and understand the challenges they face while being able to represent them as best I can.”

Walsh, 56, has also become acquainted with Gary Bettman since becoming commissioner in March. The two attended an event together at the Canadian Embassy in Washington in April and met several times to discuss caps, coyotes and more.

“For me, the vital signs seem fine,” Bettmann said. APs recently. “We’re getting along. I like him. I respect him. I think he’s smart. I’m looking forward to working with him because I think he’s going to be good for the players.” I am doing it.”

Walsh said the relationship was a “very friendly working relationship”, but there were going to be disagreements going forward, which “put us on both sides of the fence and we’ll deal with that when the time comes.” I have to,” he admitted. Collective bargaining negotiations over the next few years will almost certainly result in that confrontation.

Veteran defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk, who was part of the search committee, said Walsh was immediately charming and commanding, and gave the players his cell phone number so they could call him at any time after the initial meeting. .

“Part of his pitch included always being available to the players – whenever we needed him,” Schattenkirk said on Sunday. “I think he understands how important it is from his experience working in a trade union. It is important to know who is leading.”

For now, Walsh is trying to lead players as they prepare for their post-hockey life and grow the game beyond its nearly $6 billion in revenue. Since moving from politics to sports, he’s looked at football, basketball, and baseball in a different light, considering what other leagues have been doing and how that applies to the NHL.

Walsh said he was interested in the growing interest in having the matches held in Sweden and other places in Europe, and would like to see more interest among underserved populations in Latin American countries and North America. I doubt that I will get a hockey opportunity in .

“You have teams like the Dallas Stars and the Coyotes and even the (Florida) Panthers that have some Latino population,” Walsh said. “You think of Boston, are you leveraging the Latino population of Boston, New York, Chicago, etc.?”

Walsh said he was thrilled just to have the opportunity to take on such a challenge, but that he still has a very strong and close friendship with him. Joe Biden. When Mr. Walsh stepped down in February, the president called him a “tough union leader” and a role model for future labor secretaries.

It’s a whole different challenge, and Walsh feels prepared throughout his career.

“I probably didn’t get many chances to say, ‘Oh, this is perfect,'” he said. “This is like my life coming full circle. I’m talking about the trade union movement, running trade unions, opportunities to grow trade unions, and how to grow trade unions, how to make trade unions stronger. Think progressively.”


AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/nhl and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/marty-walsh-ap-joe-biden-nhl-boston-b2359817.html Why Marty Walsh Left Biden to Run the NHL Players Association

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