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The Mass Media

Marty Walsh joins NHL Players’ Association as Executive Director

 Previous Boston Mayor and Dorchester native Martin J. “Marty” Walsh was appointed to the National Hockey League Players’ Association as executive director under a unanimous vote by the NHLPA’s Executive Board. The effort to recommend and appoint Walsh was a lengthy nine-month process conducted by the organization’s player-led Search Committee [1].

Walsh was previously a member of President Joe Biden’s presidential cabinet, serving as the United States secretary of labor. However, he left the position after Biden held his State of the Union address on Feb. 7 to join the NHLPA full-time. He needed at least 18 votes from the NHLPA Representatives to be confirmed, but according to Bleacher Report, Walsh was expected to be approved unanimously [1,2].

In a statement to NHLPA Media Release, Walsh expressed his honor and excitement about joining the organization. “I am honored to have been selected as the executive director of the NHLPA. In accepting this offer I am committing to do all that I can to advocate on players’ behalf,” said Marty Walsh. “My years of experience in the labor movement and in public life has taught me that the job is never about me. It’s about us. It’s about the people we serve. So I look forward to working with players and the NHLPA staff to make the NHLPA the best and most effective team we can be to advance and protect the interests of our players and their families” [1].

Walsh succeeded previous Executive Director Donald Fehr, who held the executive director position since 2010. Walsh was a leading candidate for the NHLPA’s search for a new executive director, which began in April 2022 [2,3].

Before entering the political arena, Walsh was a very active member of Boston’s Labor Unions. Walsh followed in his father’s footsteps and joined Laborers Local 223 in Boston. He went on to become the president of that same union at the age of 21. Walsh later became the president of Boston’s Building and Construction Trades Council in 2011. This organization is an umbrella group of several local Boston construction unions and thousands of workers. In 2013, he stepped down to make his official run for mayor of Boston [1].

Not only has Walsh worked his way from the union, the mayor of Boston, working with President Biden, and now to the NHL, Walsh is also making history by becoming the first NHLPA Executive Director without a legal background. His extensive experience in the Union here in Boston as well as his political experience years later helped him become qualified for the job.

The player-led Search Committee that was responsible for Walsh’s swift election included Ian Cole from Tampa Bay Lightning, Mattias Ekholm from Nashville Predators, Justin Faulk from St. Louis Blues, Sam Gagner from Winnipeg Jets, Zach Hyman from Edmonton Oilers, Kyle Okposo from Buffalo Sabres, Nate Schmidt from Winnipeg Jets, Kevin Shattenkirk from Anaheim Ducks, Jacob Trouba from New York Rangers and James van Riemsdyk from Philadelphia Flyers.

Okposo spoke to NHLPA Media Release about electing Walsh to his position. “We are excited to name Marty Walsh as the next executive director of the NHLPA,” said Kyle Okposo. “Marty is a proven leader with a strong union background. His energy and ability to connect with players were immediately evident to the search committee. These were the very qualities we were focused on throughout our search for the next executive director. We look forward to the NHLPA’s future under Marty’s leadership” [1].


  1. https://www.nhlpa.com/news/1-22447/nhlpa-executive-board-appoints-martin-j-walsh-as-executive-director

  1. https://www.cbsnews.com/boston/news/marty-walsh-formally-appointed-executive-director-of-nhlpa/

About the Contributor
Samantha Beady, News Editor