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The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Former Mayor of Boston Martin J. Walsh to be executive director of NHLPA

JD Conte
The Bruin’s ice rink at TD Garden.

Secretary of Labor and former Mayor of Boston Martin J. Walsh will soon depart Washington for a new position with the National Hockey League Players Association, sources confirmed to the Boston Globe early last week.

While neither Walsh nor the NHLPA have made an official announcement of the move, it is widely reported that he will be named executive director soon. Walsh will need to receive 18 of 32 votes from the NHLPA’s executive board to officially be appointed.

The NHLPA said in a statement that they are “actively interviewing potential candidates” and that “while the process is getting closer to completion, we are unable to comment further at this time.”

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman commented on the Walsh rumor at the State of the League address during All-Star Weekend on Feb 4.

“I have met Marty a couple of times when he was the Mayor of Boston, but beyond that there’s nothing to add,” Bettman said. “I’m not going to comment on who may or may not be the next executive director. It would be inappropriate, and if I went far enough, could violate the federal labor laws. The fact of the matter is, we’re very respectful of what the players are doing. They’re going to conduct the process for a new executive director as they see fit, and whoever it is we’ll work with.”

Walsh has a history with both unions and hockey prior to this new role. At 21 years old, Walsh joined Laboror’s Union Local 223 and served as its president until he was elected as a state representative. As head of the Department of Labor, he pushed himself into negotiations between Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Player’s Association last winter during the league’s lockout.

A longtime Bruins fan, Walsh has deep ties to the NHL. 

As a child, Walsh faced a battle with cancer and a lengthy stay at Children’s Hospital for treatment. Prior to his discharge, Bobby Orr visited his floor at the hospital. The Boston Globe reported that Walsh was too stunned to speak, but still managed to get a signed photo. Walsh still has that photo at his house.

Walsh bought season tickets to the Bruins at 21 and reportedly spent his free time as mayor watching games.

Some in Washington are already vying for a shot at the cabinet post. Rep. Nancy Pelosi is attempting to garner support for former Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, with others pushing for the Department of Labor’s deputy secretary Julie Su, according to Politico.

Senator Bernie Sanders, who was considered for Walsh’s role back in 2020, told the Associated Press he was not interested in the job.

“I like my own job right now very much,” said Sanders, who now chairs the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. 

Back in the commonwealth, many have taken to Twitter to show their support, including State Rep. Smitty Pignalelli.

“Congratulations to my longtime friend ⁦@marty_walsh⁩. A huge loss to the ⁦@POTUS⁩ but a big bonus to the ⁦@NHL⁩ He leads with his heart and common sense,” Pignatelli tweeted Thursday.

If officially appointed to the role, Walsh would be the second high-profile Mass. politician to take a job in the sports world, joining former Gov. Charlie Baker who now heads up the NCAA.

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About the Contributors
William Woodring, Senior Editor-at-Large | he/him
Will is a senior majoring in public relations. He is originally from Medway, Massachusetts. In his free time, he enjoys listening to music, writing, reading, and running. He is interested in political journalism and hopes to go into politics after graduating. Follow Will on X @woodringwill
JD Conte, Sports Editor | he/him
JD is a senior from Wallingford, Conn. double majoring in political science and broadcast journalism. Aside from writing for the journal, JD can often be found in Studio 73 working on his broadcast skills. Off-campus JD can be found watching all the Boston and UCONN sports teams. He enjoys spending time with his family and friends in various spots around the city, especially in East Boston and the North End. After graduation JD hopes to work in a newsroom full-time or pursue a career in the sports industry. Follow JD on Twitter @jdconte617 Email him at [email protected]

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Former Mayor of Boston Martin J. Walsh to be executive director of NHLPA