2012 NHL Lockout: NHL And NHLPA Agree To Federal Mediation

The National Hockey League and NHL Players Association have agreed to allow mediators from the Federal Mediation & Conciliation Service to sit in on their upcoming labor negotiations.

According to various reports, the National Hockey League and NHL Players' Association have agreed to allow mediators from the FMCS sit in during their upcoming labor negotiations. This news comes just about a week after Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly stated that mediation was not the desired route of travel.

George Cohen, who is the director of the Federal Mediation & Conciliation Service, released a statement on the agencies website confirming their involvement in the process. Cohen and the FMCS were involved in the recent labor deputes with the NFL, and NBA just a year ago.

According to Cohen, who voluntary suggested his agency step in and move the process along, said "I've had separate, informal discussions" with both the NHL and NHLPA throughout the process. Now, the mediation process is much different then that of a arbitrator. Mediators cannot force a deal to be signed, but it can move process along, "generate new options", and "help establish ground rules and realistic expectations."

The mediation process is expected to begin on Wednesday when the NHL and NHLPA will finally get back to the bargaining table. A full statement from George Cohen can be found below.

Statement by FMCS Director George H. Cohen on NHL Labor Talks

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service Director George H. Cohen issued the following statement today on the ongoing labor negotiations between the National Hockey League and the National Hockey League Players’ Association: "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."

"Due to the extreme sensitivity of these negotiations and consistent with the FMCS’s longstanding practice, the Agency will refrain from any public comment concerning the future schedule and/or the status of the negotiations until further notice."