Just a week after league deputy commissioner Bill Daly said that mediation was not the preferred course of action to solve the ongoing 2012 NHL lockout, federal mediators in the United States have announced that they're getting involved.
George Cohen, the director of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, released a statement on Monday afternoon. Cohen and his agency played a role in both the NFL and NBA lockouts of a year ago.
"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," Cohen said. "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 long-standing practice, the Agency will refrain from any public comment concerning the future schedule and/or the status of the negotiations until further notice."
Mediation form the FMCS is always voluntary and both sides have agreed to have Cohen and his team step forward in trying to solve the work stoppage. The FMCS cannot force a resolution but according to its website, it can "help keep talks moving, focused an on track," it can help "generate new options" for the two sides and "help establish ground rules and realistic expectations."
The NHL and NHLPA spoke on Monday, according to reports, and plan on involving the mediator in formal talks later this week