NHL, union won’t turn to federal mediator yet

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A month ago, we talked about the possibility of a federal mediator getting involved with the ongoing CBA negotiations.

That hasn’t happened so far, but both sides have independently been in contact with federal mediator George H. Cohen, who helped with the NBA’s and NFL’s recent labor negotiations, according to ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun.

Unfortunately the response from NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly was less than inspiring.

“No news here,” Daly said. “Consistent with interviews we gave at the end of the summer. We have both separately been in touch with the FMCS at various points during this process. So far, I think we all have been in agreement that we didn’t think that the introduction of a mediator into the process was timely or that it would necessarily further the process. That may change at some point, but it hasn’t yet.”

The obvious question is: Given how much is at stake and how long this lockout has been going on for, what would need to change in order for the two sides to agree to a mediator?

Last month, Daly cautioned that a mediator would only help if “both sides are willing to embrace it and compromise,” although that might not be the reason behind the decision not to use a federal mediator at this time.