Sunday, July 31, 2016

NHL seeks to vacate Wideman award, discharges arbitrator

The NHL recently announced that it was seeking to vacate the award of Arbitrator James Oldham that reduced the suspension of Calgary Flames defenseman Dennis Wildeman from 20 games to 10. Wideman had been suspended for 20 games for allegedly intentionally striking an opposing player. Arbitrator Oldham concluded that Wideman lacked the intent to injure and that the conduct was more appropriately  subject to a 10 game suspension.

The collective bargaining agreement between the NHL and the NHL Player's Association contains a newly negotiated right of appeal to a Neutral Discipline Arbitrator. Pursuant to the cba, the NDA

...shall determine whether the final decision of the League regarding whether the Player’s conduct violated the League Playing Rules and whether the length of the suspension imposed were supported by substantial evidence.

The NHL's complaint alleges that the arbitrator exceeded his authority by "disregarding the standard of review set forth in the CBA" and improperly conducting a de novo review of the suspension.

The Players' Association has filed a Motion to Dismiss or, alternatively, to confirm the award.

It has also been reported (NHL Dismisses Neutral Discipline Arbitrator Who Reduced Wideman's Suspension) that the NHL has discharged Arbitrator Oldham, as it may do under its collective bargaining agreement.

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