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“The MLBPA, as it has done in the past, stands ready to assist the NHLPA whenever called upon.”

Fehr takes over an organization that’s been plagued by turmoil and uncertainty in recent years. The union has had four leaders since the end of the 2004-05 NHL lockout.

During his time in charge of the baseball union, Fehr developed a reputation of being a fierce negotiator and led the baseball players through the 1994-95 strike and subsequent cancellation of the World Series.

Fehr said he is unsure when negotiations with the league would begin, but guessed that it would be “probably sometime a year from this spring, maybe a little sooner than that but that’s only a target date.

“Down the road a few months I expect to have a much better idea of when it would make sense.”

Fehr said it’s very unfair for fans to automatically assume another lockout is imminent because of his appointment.

“A lot of people have knee-jerk reactions to things, but a knee-jerk reaction that would say my background … suggests I am a hawk such that it necessarily means there will be problems in the negotiations I don’t think reflects a very complete or sophisticated understanding of what we went through,” he said. “You have an obligation to negotiate in good faith with the owners and we will do that and they have an obligation to negotiate in good faith with the players and I trust and hope they will do that.

“We treat a work stoppage, a strike, as a last resort and it’s something you consider only when you believe that all alternatives have failed. If you would ask me if I anticipate a stoppage, I would say no and I certainly hope we won’t have one but I’m not going to predict what happens in negotiations.”

The NHLPA also announced its membership voted overwhelmingly to accept amendments that were put forward by the constitution committee and endorsed by the executive board. The union said in a statement the amendments add clarity to, and simplify, the new constitution as well as the association’s decision-making process.

“Would I have taken the position without the amendments? The answer is I don’t know for sure but it would’ve been a vastly more difficult choice,” Fehr said. “What this does is put the director almost precisely in the position of a prime minister and that is to say the director has significant authority and responsibility but so long as, and only so long as, that individual can maintain significant majority support among the executive and board and players.”