As reported earlier, the NHL and NHLPA have agreed to bring in federal mediators to help negotiate a new collective bargaining agreement.
So, who are the key figures?
Here’s a quick primer…
George H. Cohen, Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service Director
Cohen (pictured) was appointed to his FMCS post by President Barack Obama in 2009, and has since served as chief mediator for the NBA and NBPA during the 2011 work stoppage. He was also an early lead mediator during the 2011 NFL lockout.
Cohen is perhaps best known for representing the MLBPA before U.S. District Judge Sonia Sotomayor in 1995.
“He is the lawyer who argued before Judge Sotomayor the day she issued the injunction that ended the baseball strike,” said MLBPA Executive Director Michael Weiner.
As for his ties to hockey? Cohen formerly served on the NHLPA Advisory Board.
Scot L. Beckenbaugh, FMCS Deputy Director
Was cited for his work in helping the NFL and NFL Referees Association reach an eight-year labor agreement, the longest deal with game officials in league history. The deal was struck on Sept. 27, two days after the controversial Seattle-Green Bay finish on Monday Night Football.
Beckenbaugh was also acting director of the FMCS during the NHL’s last lockout.
John (Jack) Sweeney, Director of Mediation Services
Sweeney currently serves the FMCS in the Northeastern United States (New York, New Jersey, Maine, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island.)
Guy Serota, Comedic Relief
Serota, who was involved in NHL-NHLPA negotiations during the 2004-05 lockout, was initially assigned to this current mediation…then came Monday’s bizarre Twitter fiasco.
Here are the lowlights, courtesy The Sporting News:
Serota caused some initial waves — a Twitter account appearing to belong to him (@GuySerota) made the rounds after the initial announcement. It was, for lack of a better term, weird, and filled with bizarre tweets at celebrities and vulgar jokes. Upon discovery, it was deleted almost immediately, then came back scrubbed of the bizarre tweets.
Serota, as is custom with this sort of thing, seemed to say he was hacked, which is almost certainly not true—the weird stuff had been up for months.
Shortly thereafter, Cohen issued a statement saying Serota had been removed from the mediation. (“Hand in your keyboard, Serota! You’re off the case!”)
“Within one hour after I issued a press release announcing that further negotiations between the NHL and NHLPA would be conducted under the auspices of the FMCS, it has been called to my attention that there are issues involving an allegedly hacked Twitter account associated with Commissioner Guy Serota, one of the mediators I assigned.
“Accordingly, in order to immediately dispel any cloud on the mediation process, and without regard to the merits of the allegations, I have determined to take immediate action, namely to remove Commissioner Serota from this assignment.”
ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun later asked Serota via email if his Twitter account had been hacked.
Serota replied yes.