Members of three Canadian-based teams are attempting to use provincial law to contest the legality of a potential lockout by the National Hockey League owners.

The National Hockey League Players Association believes that laws in the provinces of both Alberta and Quebec would make the potential lockout unlawful.

Under the law, an employer cannot lock out employees unless those employees are represented by a union certified by the Quebec Labour Board, union officialst ell the Montreal Gazette’s Dave Stubbs. Stubbs reports that Habs players have already sent a “Ccease and Desist” letter to Canadiens owners who, along with their 29 counterparts across the NHL, say they will shut the league down if a new Collective Bargaining Agreement isn’t reached this week. “We would like the QLB to step in,” Habs alternate player rep Erik Cole tells the paper, “and inform them that their lockout would be in direct violation of the Quebec labor laws.”

“The filings are intended to interfere with the broader labor negotiating process,” NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said Monday. “They will have absolutely zero impact on the broader negotiation, or on the deal we ultimately agree on.”

According to the NHLPA, the fact that the Union is not recognized by the Quebec Labor Board makes it unlawful for the Montreal Canadiens to lock out the team’s players.

The NHLPA is also contesting the potential lock out of players from the Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames.

The Union believes Alberta law states a mediator must be used before an employer can lock out its employees.

A hearing on that matter scheduled for Tuesday was cancelled Monday night, according to reports.

Montreal defenseman Josh Gorges said Monday during a conference call that a favorable ruling for the players from the Quebec Labor Board would allow the players to receive a paycheck and use the team’s facilities during a work stoppage.

During a lockout, players do not receive a salary and are barred from using team facilities.

“This is an opportunity to show that we want to play and, from the players’ standpoint, we want to do everything we can to show the owners and the fans that we want to play,” Gorges said. “This is a tactic for us to use to push the owners to allow us to play.”


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