In one of the more surprising developments from NHL All-Star weekend, it appears that the NHLPA has hired former Boston City Mayor Marty Walsh as their new executive director replacing the retiring Donald Fehr, according to multiple reports.
Walsh, whose surprise candidacy was first reported by TSN’s Darren Dreger last week, will reportedly step into the hockey players’ union role soon from his current job as the US Secretary of Labor under the Biden Administration.
Interesting development in the NHLPA exec director search. Sources say Marty Walsh, current US Secretary of Labor is believed to be the top candidate. The NHLPA Board will meet tomorrow to further discuss. A vote is required by the board to complete the process.
— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) February 1, 2023
The Dorchester native obviously has hockey ties based simply on the city he grew up in and has a decorated career as a strong union guy, but his NHLPA candidacy was well outside the usual candidates like NHLPA exec Mathieu Schneider, agent Allan Walsh and former Vancouver Canucks GM Mike Gillis.
Interestingly, this also follows former Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker jumping from the local political scene to becoming the new President of the NCAA, a move that was announced in the middle of December.
Congratulations to my good friend @CharlieBakerMA on your appointment as President of the @NCAA! There is no one better fit to lead and inspire our young athletes as they rise to their fullest potential than you. I’m excited to see your success in this new role, good luck https://t.co/3UUpQSbrFV
— Marty Walsh (@MartyJWalsh) December 15, 2022
It’s still unknown how exactly Walsh found his way into the top union job with the NHL players above and beyond Dorchester connections like Kevin Hayes, but it’s not without some raised eyebrows given the relative secrecy of the selection process even among the NHL players possible past connections, and political contributions, between Walsh and Boston Bruins ownership.
The former Boston Mayor has been open and candid about a Boston Bruins game in 1995 as his rock bottom moment when he was kicked out of the arena for being too intoxicated and has fought for his sobriety in the days and years that followed.
Beyond that there isn’t a great many logical connections between Walsh and the NHL, but there’s little doubt that a guy with a thick Boston accent heading the NHL players’ union feels pretty right in a lot of different ways.