The NHL and the NHL Players' Assn. have agreed to take their labor dispute to federal mediators in an effort to reach an agreement that would preserve part of the 2012-13 season.
George H. Cohen, director of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, said in a statement Monday that the league and the union had consented to involve mediators in the process. The league locked out players on Sept. 15 and has canceled the All-Star game and regular-season games through Dec. 14, including the showcase Winter Classic outdoor game.
Cohen said he had assigned three mediators to the negotiations. The NHL and the union agreed to mediation during the last league-imposed lockout but not until much later in the process. In that dispute, Commissioner Gary Bettman canceled the season in February, a few days after mediators had become involved.
Here's Cohen’s statement:
"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.