Image via Flickr user VancityAllie
According to a statement issued George H. Cohen, director of the US Federal Mediation and Conciliation, federal mediators will now oversee all future negotations between the NHL and NHLPA during the current player lockout: “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.”
In 2005, the last time federal mediators were called upon to settle a labour dispute between the NHL and NHLPA, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman officially cancelled the season after days of negotiation. Still, given that FMCS has become involved much earlier in process – November as opposed to February – one hopes that their influence will help salvage the season. Of course, it could also signify just how far apart the two parties remain.
No word if Don Cherry has gotten to this part of the newspaper yet.
Igor Bonifacic is a writer working for the Toronto Standard. You can follow him on twitter at @igorbonifacic.