The National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA) on Thursday officially announced Labor Secretary Marty Walsh will take over as head of the players’ union next month, days after it was reported Walsh would depart the administration.
The NHLPA confirmed that Walsh would serve as the union’s next executive director beginning in mid-March. The announcement is the first formal confirmation from either the union or the White House that Walsh will be leaving his government job.
“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,” Walsh said in a statement. “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.”
Walsh, 55, was chosen by a search committee for the players union after a nearly yearlong search for a replacement for the retiring Director Don Fehr.
Walsh’s departure makes him the first Senate-confirmed Cabinet official in the line of succession to leave the administration since President Biden took office.
Before joining the Biden administration, Walsh was the mayor of Boston from 2014 until 2021, and prior to that he had been a member of the Massachusetts State House since 1997.
He has had various union roles throughout his career, including a stint as leader of the Building and Construction Trades Council in Boston. As Labor Secretary, Walsh was at the forefront of Biden’s efforts to fulfill his pledge to be the most pro-union president in history, meeting frequently with union workers, including those on strike.
Walsh played a key role in negotiations between railroad operators and union workers to avoid a strike that officials said would have devastated the U.S. supply chain and damaged the economy. Congress eventually voted to impose a contract to avoid a strike after negotiations initially faltered.
Jockeying has already started for who will replace Walsh in the administration. The Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus has urged Biden to elevate Deputy Labor Secretary Julie Su to the top job, noting that Biden lacks an Asian American secretary in his Cabinet.
Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has reportedly urged Biden to consider former Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.) for the job after he lost his reelection bid in November.