Oilers goaltender Dubnyk among players arguing lockout is unlawful in Alberta
Flames will join Battle of Alberta rivals in court challenge on Friday
Anaheim Ducks’ Ryan Getzlaf beats Edmonton Oilers goalie Devan Dubnyk in overtime during the Oilers’ last home game of the 2011-12 season at Rexall Place on April 5, 2012.
Photograph by: Bruce Edwards, Edmonton Journal
EDMONTON - The irony was not lost on Edmonton Oilers goaltender Devan Dubnyk, who will be one of the NHL players filing into the Alberta Labour Relations Board on Friday, rather than Rexall Place for the start of training camp.
“It just doesn’t feel right ... doesn’t make sense,” he said. “Nothing really seems to make sense right now.”
Nine Oilers and 12 members of the Calgary Flames, along with the NHL Players’ Association, filed an application with the ALRB last week, arguing that the lockout is unlawful in Alberta.
Several Oilers and NHLPA legal counsel will be in attendance as will NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly and league counsel.
“I’m going to put a suit on and go sit there and, hopefully, it’s going to help,” said Oilers forward Eric Belanger, one of the players skating Thursday in the new NHLPA jerseys that arrived this week. “We’re crossing our fingers that it’s going to help the process.
“We’re hoping it will get them back to the table, so we can get a deal done as soon as possible.”
Belanger, Nick Schultz, Ryan Jones, Sam Gagner, Shawn Horcoff, Corey Potter, Ryan Smyth and Ryan Whitney are the Edmonton players listed on the application.
Jarome Iginla, Miikka Kiprusoff, Chris Butler, Matt Stajan, Mike Cammalleri, Blake Comeau, Derek Smith, Tim Jackman, Dennis Wideman, Mark Giordano, Mikael Backlund and Henrik Karlsson are the Flames named on the complaint.
“I think we’re a little bit optimistic,” said Schultz. “Each province implements laws for a reason. These are the guidelines in Alberta and if they weren’t followed, for whatever reason, or if we can help out anyway to change the way negotiations are going (we will). We’re just looking at different avenues, so we can get back onto the ice.”
The NHLPA and 16 members of the Montreal Canadiens filed an application with Quebec’s labour board earlier this month and were denied a request for emergency relief the day before the lockout went into effect — last Saturday at 11:59 p.m. ET. The labour board also rejected the league’s request to dismiss the case.
In Quebec, employees cannot be locked out unless they are in a union certified by the board and the NHLPA is not.
In Alberta, there are procedural steps that need to be taken before a lockout. First, a mediator is appointed and given a 14-day window to deal with both sides, after which a lockout vote must be held. The NHL did seek mediation back in August and an ALRB supervised lockout vote had been scheduled for Sept. 17.
However, the NHLPA argued that the league halted mediation after just three days, and challenged the league’s application. The NHL pulled its file before that hearing took place.
Alexandra Dagg, the NHLPA’s director of operations, said last week that the intent was to stop the league from ramming through a lockout.
“I don’t think they’d be pursing it if there wasn’t a chance,” said Dubnyk. “We certainly think it’s legit. We’ll see.”
© Copyright (c) The Calgary Herald