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Kelly to collect $1.7-million in deal with NHLPA Add to ...

Paul Kelly and the National Hockey League Players' Association have reached a tentative settlement that will pay the former executive director $1.7-million (all currency U.S.), according to the New York Post.

The Post reported yesterday on its website that Kelly, who was fired by the players last August, will receive $1.5-million, plus $200,000 for lawyers' fees.

Kelly was just 18 months into his five-year contract as executive director when he was fired.

A confidentiality clause in the settlement stipulates Kelly and the players can't discuss his firing.

The settlement requires approval by a majority of the NHLPA's 30 player representatives. It was outlined to them during a conference call on Sunday. The vote will be conducted by e-mail over the next 72 hours and the players are expected to approve the deal.

A spokesman for the NHLPA declined to comment. Kelly did not respond to a request for comment.

Donald Fehr, the former head of the Major League Baseball Players Association, handled most of the conference call. He became an adviser to the union in the wake of Kelly's firing and is sitting on separate committees that are in charge of rewriting the NHLPA constitution and conducting a search for Kelly's successor.

Insiders say the constitution committee is getting most of the attention now because the union would prefer to have most of it in place so that candidates for executive director will know the parameters of the job. They also say there is increasing speculation that Fehr, who has said he's not a candidate to replace Kelly, might develop an interest in the position.

The Post report also said the player reps were told the Phoenix Coyotes and the Tampa Bay Lightning are the biggest financial problems in the league, and that players can expect to lose 13 per cent of their salaries in escrow payments this season.

A percentage of the players' salaries is placed in an escrow account. If the league's hockey-related revenue, which is said to be down 2 per cent this season, is lower than expected, the players give up enough of the escrow money to ensure their salaries come to just under 57 per cent of hockey-related revenue.

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