The U.S. government is now stepping in to help, after the two sides in the ongoing NHL lockout have agreed to allow the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service to join the negotiations. Director George H. Cohen has assigned three mediators to help the owners and the players’ association come to an agreement and, hopefully, end the lockout.
“I have had separate, informal discussions with the key representatives of the National Hockey League and the National Hockey League Players’ Association during the course of their negotiations for a successor collective bargaining agreement,” Cohen said in a statement. “At the invitation of the FMCS, and with the agreement of both parties, the ongoing negotiations will now be conducted under our auspices.”
Scot L. Beckenbaugh, John Sweeney and Guy Serota will serve as the mediators, but the mediation is not binding. As TSN’s Bob McKenzie points out, the mediators are simply a third party trying to help. Furthermore, the league also used federal mediators in the 2004-05 lockout, which resulted in a cancelled season.
“Due to the extreme sensitivity of these negotiations and consistent with the FMCS’s long-standing practice,” Cohen continued, “the agency will refrain from any public comment concerning the future schedule and/or the status of the negotiations until further notice.”
Monday marked the 72nd day of the lockout, with 422 regular-season games cancelled so far.