The move by the NHL came soon after it learned the NHL Players' Association intended to ask its executive board to proceed with a vote that would send it on a path toward decertification and ultimately class action and antitrust lawsuits against the league.
"Today, in response to information indicating that NHL players have or will be asked to vote to authorize the National Hockey League Players' Association's executive board to proceed to 'disclaim interest' in continuing to represent the players in collective bargaining, the National Hockey League filed a class action complaint in federal court in New York seeking a declaration confirming the ongoing legality of the lockout," the NHL said in a statement.
"Simultaneously with the filing of its complaint, the NHL also filed an unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board alleging that by threatening to 'disclaim interest,' the NHLPA has engaged in an unlawful subversion of the collective bargaining process and conduct that constitutes bad faith bargaining under the National Labor Relations Act."
The move into the courts came the day after the two sides failed to reach a deal on a new collective bargaining agreement despite the assistance of federal mediators.
The league has canceled all games through Dec. 30, plus its Winter Classic game on New Year's Day and its All-Star Game in late January.