NHL lockout over: Mediator credited for 'extraordinary contribution' to new deal

Bruce Bennett

The NHL lockout is finally over and United States federal mediator Scot L. Beckenbaugh is being praised for his involvement in the negotiations.

The NHL and NHL Players Association tentatively came to terms on a new 10-year collective bargaining agreement early Sunday morning, which ended the league's 113-day lockout.

Since being enacted on Sept. 15 by commissioner Gary Bettman at the behest of the NHL board of governors, some non-traditional players have become household names with hockey fans -- none of which have ever worn the crest of one of the NHL's 30 teams.

NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly, NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr, NHLPA special council Steve Fehr and would-have-been mediator Guy Serota have all flooded Twitter feeds and Facebook statuses throughout this grueling process.

However, when everyone looks back on this tenuous time in the history of the game, the name of United States federal mediator Scot L. Beckenbaugh will likely be the one to be remembered most fondly.

Acting as the buffer between the two sides through the marathon 16-hour negotiation that began on Saturday, carried through Sunday and ended with a tentative agreement, Beckenbaugh has received a hero's praise for his involvement in the dispute.

Shortly after the announcement from Bettman that the lockout had come to an end, Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service Director George H. Cohen issued the following statement commending the new deal and praising the efforts of Beckenbaugh:

On behalf of the FMCS, I want to extend our congratulations to both parties for their important accomplishment. The negotiated agreement represents the successful culmination of a long and difficult road in which the parties ultimately were able to reach mutually acceptable solutions to a wide variety of contentious subjects of bargaining. Of course, the agreement will pave the way for the professional players to return to the ice and for the owners to resume their business operations. But the good news extends beyond the parties directly involved; fans throughout North America will have the opportunity to return to a favorite pastime and thousands of working men and women and small businesses will no longer be deprived of their livelihoods. Last but surely not least, I want to recognize the extraordinary contribution that my colleague, Scot Beckenbaugh, Deputy Director for Mediation Services, made in providing assistance of the highest caliber to the parties throughout the most critical periods in the negotiations.

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