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Mathieu Schneider joined the NHL Players' Association on Wednesday as a special assistant to executive director Donald Fehr.

Schneider, 41, who retired in 2010 after 21 NHL seasons with 10 teams, will work out of the union's Toronto office.

The hiring fits Fehr's strategy of having long-time players who were active in union affairs as sounding boards and liaisons with the current players (a plan he also employed during his time as the head of the MLB Players Association).

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"His vast experience as an NHL player and as an active member in [the NHLPA]will make [Schneider]a great addition to the staff and an exceptional asset for the players," Fehr said in a statement released by the union.

Schneider will have a variety of roles. He will communicate with the players about on- and off-ice issues, including concussions, equipment and rules of the game. He will also help players prepare for collective bargaining, as the current agreement expires at the end of the 2011-12 season. Schneider will be a liaison with player agents as well.

While Fehr had more than one retired player serving in this capacity for the baseball union, it has not been decided if any additional retired players will be hired for the NHLPA. The union already has former players Jim McKenzie, Joe Reekie, Rob Zamuner and Steve Webb on staff as divisional player representatives.

"Now that my playing career is over, I'm very excited to have the opportunity to continue to work on behalf of the players," Schneider said.

"I plan on drawing from my own understanding of the NHLPA and the game to help ensure that the players are educated on all matters relating to the association and the collective bargaining agreement."

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