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Kevin Hayes throws support behind fellow Dorchester product Marty Walsh to take over NHLPA

Marty Walsh could soon be speaking on behalf of a new group of constituents as executive director of the NHLPA.Stuart Cahill/Pool

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Some players interviewed beachside at NHL All-Star Media Day at the Fort Lauderdale Marriott Harbor Beach Resort & Spa weren’t touching the topic of the NHLPA’s pending leadership change.

Asked what he’d like to see in a new union director, Florida Panthers winger Matthew Tkachuk flatly said he “wasn’t going to comment on that.”

Philadelphia Flyers center Kevin Hayes did have something to say. He has a personal connection with Marty Walsh, the former Boston mayor and a fellow Dorchester product. Hayes was bullish on a potential Walsh appointment as executive director of the players’ union beyond the pride of seeing someone from the neighborhood take the reins.


Walsh, United States Secretary of Labor, reportedly is one of the leading candidates to replace Donald Fehr as executive director of the NHLPA.

“He’s a guy my family knows and he’s a great guy,” Hayes said. “I’ve known him a long time. I’ve known people that have worked with him. I don’t know if he’s got the job or not, you probably know more than I do, but I think he’ll do a great job.”

What’s most important to Hayes, who noted Walsh would get his vote, in a new NHLPA leader?

“Someone that has our back,” he said. “There’s situations where we as players need help on the outside, and we need a leader.”

The NHLPA met Thursday to discuss its leadership change.

“The Search Committee met with the Executive Board members earlier today, both in person and over Zoom, regarding the ongoing process to select a new NHLPA Executive Director. While the process is getting closer to completion, we will comment further once we have an announcement to make,” an NHLPA spokesperson said.

Matt Porter can be reached at matthew.porter@globe.com. Follow him @mattyports.