The NHL Players Association has requested that federal mediators return to the collective bargaining negotiations with the NHL, according to a report by Liz Mullen of the Sports Business Journal on Thursday afternoon.
The NHLPA's request to bring mediators back into the negotiations was later confirmed by multiple reports.
As of this time, it is unclear whether the mediators will actually return to the discussions. Citing sources close to the situation, Mullen states that the idea had been presented earlier in the week by the NHLPA and that while the notion was originally not accepted by the owners, they ultimately relented.
However, the mediators were not available because they were handling the Los Angeles Port Strike.
Mullen would later go on to state that the final decision on whether to re-introduce federal mediation will be determined after the two sides meet on Thursday. In addition, multiple reports confirmed that the mediators are now available but will have to travel to New York from Washington in addition to the league consenting to the idea.
Federal mediators originally became involved in the discussions at the end of November. However, their inclusion was met with skepticism and they ultimately only engaged in two days of negotiations before being removed from the bargaining sessions.