BY WEB STAFF
The fallout from the Stephane Auger-Dave Burrows controversy continued Thursday, with a memo from the officials president chastising members for speaking to the media, in particular sportsnet.ca's Mark Spector.
In a memo obtained by Sportsnet on Thursday, NHL Officials Association president Brian Murphy addressed concerns brought up by the referee membership in regards to talking to the media.
According to Murphy's memo, officials are embarrassed over public comments made by four members to Spector in his Tuesday column 'What was he thinking?'.
The complete text of the memo is below:
Subject: Public Comments
In the past 48 hours I have received numerous phone calls, text messages and emails from the membership. More so than any other issue that I have had to address with in the past 4 and half years. I appreciate your feedback. I hope I have replied to you all and if I didn't its not that I'm ignoring you, I just have had so many messages.
The message from the membership is quite clear. It comes from the entire cross section of the membership. Referees and linesmen, East and West, American and Canadian. The message is you have had enough with our members making public comment in the media. In particular to Mark Spector and his article on Tuesday (please see article below). You are embarrassed that comments were being made during the investigation. You are upset that in some cases the comments were negative toward one of our own members. I could go on.
This morning I conducted a conference call with the discipline committee. I can hear your thought now, "here we go again". Not this time boys.
During the call I expressed to the committee all the comments I have received from the membership. I told them you had finally had enough and that these individuals went too far this time. You kicked one of our own when he was down. I told them the committee was responsible to follow through on the wishes of the membership to bring these people forward.
The discipline committee will work on the issue. I caution all of you not to rush to judgement. We don't know for sure who made the comments. Please allow the process to follow through to conclusion. It may take until we are all together in one room at training camp.
As President of the Association, I would just like to remind you of our direction. You are allowed to comment to the media on any issue that personally involves you. For example, Stephane Auger has every right from the Association perspective to speak out. If you were not involved in the game or the comments are not directed at you, there is no reason for you to respond. The Executive Director or President in consultation with the Executive Board are the only ones who have a right to speak on behalf of the Association on matters which directly affect the Association.
Further, members of the Association who speak to the media may be in violation of Section 28 (F) of the CBA (See below). Please read this carefully and be prepared for any potential consequences. See Section 28 (G) of CBA (See below).
I'm not sure when some of you will learn that commenting to the media doesn't benefit anyone in this group. It just gives them something to write a story about. I know the events of this past week in particular and some others during this season have taught me that some of you in this group can't be trusted. That's a very disheartening situation, but reality. It will limit the information flow from my computer from now on.
Thanks for your consideration.
Section 28 (F) CBA
Public Statements - Each official will refrain from making any public statement concerning the NHL, its Officers or Governors or its policies or any aspect of his duties as an official or any incident occurring in the course of the performance of his duties as an official or about his fellow officials or about any other League or Association with which the NHL has friendly relations, without the express permission of the Commissioner, the Senior Executive Vice-President and Director of Hockey Operations or their designee. The League shall give the Association written notice of the outcome of disciplinary proceedings involving verbal or physical abuse of officials and the Association and the officials agree to keep same confidential among themselves. These provisions do not prohibit or limit in any manner the right of the official to make such public statements as he may deem necessary to defend himself against critical or defamatory utterances of any kind, oral or written, directed against him, relating to his general competence or integrity as an official or as to his personal character, nor does it prohibit or limit his right to prosecute an action for damages or other redress to which he may be entitled, in respect of any such critical or defamatory statement by whomever made
Section 28 (G)
(a) Discipline - Apart from its right to release officials pursuant to section 14 hereof, the NHL shall have the right to discipline, suspend without compensation, and/or fine an official for cause which, without limiting the foregoing, shall include breach of this Agreement, failure to comply with Policies and Procedures Manual provisions, a copy of which shall be furnished promptly to the officials and the Executive Director of the NHLOA upon execution of this Agreement, or failure to fulfil orders, directions or instructions of the Commissioner of the NHL, the Senior Executive Vice-President and Director of Hockey Operations or their designee. An official shall not, however, be fined by the League for on-ice calls which resulted from an official’s exercise of judgment, as opposed to his knowledge of the rules. In the case of a fine for rule interpretation and application, for a first “offence” in any season, the fine shall not exceed $350. In the case of all other fines, the fine shall not exceed $1,000. When an official is disciplined, suspended and/or fined, he shall forthwith be notified in writing of the reasons therefor, and a copy of the notice shall be forthwith furnished to the Executive Director of the NHLOA. An official disciplined under this provision may appeal the disciplinary determination to the Commissioner or his designee, whose determination on the appeal shall be final. Upon timely application by the affected official, the Commissioner or his designee may stay any discipline pending an appeal.
All fines paid pursuant to this section shall be paid to the NHLOA Alumni Association Fund to be established by the NHL in conjunction with the NHLOA.
Proper notification of disciplinary action relating to an NHL official’s interaction or altercation with playing or non-playing personnel or under Rule 76 shall be forwarded to the Executive Director of the NHLOA. The NHL shall also provide written notice of League decisions concerning these matters to the official and to the Executive Director of the NHLOA. The parties agree to keep these matters confidential.