Former All-Star defenseman Chris Pronger has joined the National Hockey League’s department of player safety.
NHL senior vice president for player safety Stephane Quintal made the announcement Friday.
Pronger hasn’t technically retired. The former NHL MVP is still being paid by the Philadelphia Flyers through 2017, even though he hasn’t played in the league since 2011 due to concussions and an eye injury.
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said this week that he would have no problem with Pronger working for the league while the former defenseman is still on the Flyers’ payroll.
Bettman addressed the potential conflict Wednesday night while in Los Angeles to attend the champion Kings’ Stanley Cup banner-raising ceremony.
“Chris’ case is unique,” Bettman said. “There are salary-cap reasons why he couldn’t officially retire, but … if in fact we go that route, I’m not sure that presents any problem at all to deal with. He’s done playing. He gets paid no matter what from the Flyers. He doesn’t owe them anything.”
The department is responsible for doling out suspensions, fines and other discipline for on-ice transgressions, traditionally one of the NHL’s most contentious areas. Pronger ran afoul of the office many times during his bruising career, incurring numerous suspensions for vicious hits and questionable on-ice behavior.
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