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NHLPA files Quebec labor board challenge in effort to block NHL lockout

By Adam Gretz | Hockey writer

We already knew the course of action being discussed by the NHLPA, and it appears that it's now actually happening.

The NHLPA announced on Wednesday that it -- along with at least 16 members of the Montreal Canadiens -- has filed an application with Quebec labor relations board with the hope that it can declare the upcoming lockout, which seems inevitable at this point, illegal in Quebec.

According to the statement, there will be an emergency meeting regarding the application in Montreal on Friday morning.

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The argument from the players' side is that because the NHLPA is not certified with the Quebec labor relations board an employee (the players) can not legally be locked out by its employer (the league). According to Quebec law, the only employees who can be locked out are members of a union that is certified with the labor board.

“The players on the Montreal Canadiens simply want the labor laws of Quebec upheld, so that we can continue to play hockey while we work towards reaching a fair contract with the NHL,” said Canadiens defenseman Josh Gorges in the statement.

On Tuesday, Eric Macramalla, a sports law analyst and sports lawyer, analyzed whether or not the NHLPA could be successful with this.

The NHL's agreement expires on Sept. 15 and if no agreement is reached the NHL will lock out the players. The two sides were meeting in New York on Wednesday morning ahead of the NHLPA meetings that are scheduled to take place this week.

While it's good that the two sides are at least talking, it's obvious there is still a long way to go, and not much time. The NHL also announced that a news conference with commissioner Gary Bettman is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. ET on Thursday.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter and like us on Facebook.

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