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Fehr is very protective of the players’ prerogatives under the National Labor Relations Act. He believes players are effectively 50-50 partners with owners over anything that affects their work rules, such as realignment, which stalled last season after the players' association refused to agree to the changes.

Montreal Canadiens defenseman and team representative Chris Campoli is glad to have Fehr, who represented baseball players for years, on his side.

“There’s no one more qualified to be doing what he’s doing,” he said. “He’s the best in the world. As a player, in my opinion, I have a sense of comfort with that. We know we’ve got the best. So going in, I think there’s a confidence when it comes to that. and there’s a lot of composure we have as a group because of it.

The NHL regular season is slated to start on Oct. 11.

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AP Sports Writer John Wawrow in Milton, Ontario contributed to this report.