With the current NHL season in limbo, Minnesota Wild forward Darroll Powe finds himself in an interesting position. The Princeton University graduate is the team’s NHLPA player representative with Stephen Veilleux as his alternate.
Powe explained via e-mail that each of the 30 teams in the NHL has two representatives on the Player’s Association Executive Board. Those 30 players work with a negotiating committee comprised of another 30 players.
However, the Players’ Association doesn’t want to leave the talks to the 90-member group. They encourage everyone to attend the negotiation sessions as well as listen in on any conference calls. In addition, the union sends out daily articles in order to keep the players aware about what is going on.
Don Fehr, the executive director of the NHLPA, also keeps the players in the loop with informative updates throughout the week using a mobile app. As the previous executive director of the Major League Baseball Players’ Association, Fehr is the only executive director to be involved in play stoppages in two major-league sports.
Powe feels strongly that “the more informed we are as a group, the better it is for us.” He also stressed that the players did not want to be off the ice. “This is an owners imposed lock out. The sooner we can get back to playing the better off everyone will be.”
The former Philadelphia Flyers fan favorite has been working hard to stay sharp, though the lengthy layoff from “structured hockey” has been difficult.
Powe, along with a group of players in Minnesota, skates several times during the week. They hired a coach to help them by running drills for forty-five minutes before they scrimmage. Gym time is also a necessary daily component in order to keep up “strength and flexibility.”
Unlike some players who opted to sign contracts overseas, Darroll Powe decided to remain in North America.
While he enjoyed his seasons with the Philadelphia Flyers, including a run to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2010, Powe has embraced the move to Minnesota.
“I loved my time in Philadelphia. It was a great city and I have a lot of great memories there. Minnesota is definitely a big change from the East Coast, but it has been a nice change of pace. The people are so friendly and it’s nice to have so much green space around.”
The biggest adjustment to the Midwest for him has been the travel because the Western Conference features “longer road trips and more time changes.”
“The Wild can’t be anything but excited about those guys coming in. From what I have seen from those guys this fall, not only are they great hockey players, but they are great guys and really hard workers,” he said.
Powe was one of the few players who suited up for the entire 82-game season for the injury-riddled Wild last year. He likes “the look of the team” and hopes a deal can be worked out soon so that the puck can finally be dropped at the Xcel Energy Center.
“There are new guys coming in who will create a lot of excitement and guys who were here last year that have a sour taste in our mouths. We are looking forward to seeing what this team can do,” he said.