Some fans have been calling for it for awhile now, but it appears as though the NHL and NHLPA will be headed to mediation in an attempt to solve the current NHL lockout.
The news broke on Monday and then was later confirmed by various members of the media. NHL executive Bill Daly and Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service director George Cohen, both later released statements to the Associated Press further confirming both sides had agreed to mediation.
“At the invitation of the FMCS, and with the agreement of both parties, the ongoing negotiations will now be conducted under our auspices,” Cohen said in his statement and he went on to say, “I have assigned deputy director Scot L. Beckenbaugh, director of mediation services John Sweeney, and commissioner Guy Serota to serve as the mediators.”
It’s important to note that this is not the George Cohen’s first rodeo either. He has worked with the MLB, MLS, NFL and NBA to help with their work stoppages even when he hadn’t mediated them himself. He was also an advisor to the NHLPA before taking his current post as director of the FMCS.
The NHL on the other hand still sounds like they aren’t 100% sold on the idea of mediation, “While we have no particular level of expectation going into this process (mediation),” NHL executive Bill Daly said in his statement, “we welcome a new approach in trying to reach a resolution of the ongoing labor dispute at the earliest possible date. We have no further comment on the upcoming meetings at the current time.”
The two sides haven’t met since last Wednesday when the NHL shot down the NHLPA’s latest collective bargaining agreement offer. Hopefully some new blood injected into the discussions can help get the ball rolling again, but as usual when it comes to the lockout ending, I’m not very optimistic.