The NHL and its players' association, who are at a prolonged standstill in their search for a collective bargaining agreement, have agreed to bring a third party into the talks.
Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service Director George H. Cohen issued the following statement today:
"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. At the invitation of the FMCS, and with the agreement of both parties, the ongoing negotiations will now be conducted under our auspices.
"I have assigned Deputy Director Scot L. Beckenbaugh, Director of Mediation Services John Sweeney, and Commissioner Guy Serota to serve as the mediators."
The NBA and NFL used a mediator to help end their labor disputes, but the NHL canceled the 2004-05 season shortly after enlisting the help of a mediator. Any findings by the FMCS will not be binding.
"We welcome a new approach in trying to reach a resolution of the ongoing labor dispute at the earliest possible date," NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly told the Canadian Press.