The National Hockey League (NHL) and the National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA) agreed to allow federal mediators to become involved with current Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) negotiations as announced in New York, N.Y. on Monday.
Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS) Director George H. Cohen released the following statement from Washington, DC:
“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.”
Donald Fehr, the NHLPA’s Executive Director, acknowledged the FMCS’s involvement in a statement released on Monday:
“The NHLPA has agreed to the addition of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS) to our ongoing negotiations. We look forward to their involvement as we continue working to reach an equitable agreement for both the players and the owners.”
The move towards mediation comes on the heels of the NHL’s announcement from its offices in New York on Friday of the cancelation of the 2012-13 regular-season schedule through December 14.
In addition, the league also announced the cancelation of the 2013 NHL All-Star Weekend scheduled for Jan. 26-27 in Columbus, Ohio.
The cancelations were necessary due to the absence of a new CBA, and resulted in the loss of 422 regular-season games or 34.3 percent of the season as scheduled from Oct. 11 through Dec. 14.
“The reality of losing more regular-season games as well as the 2013 NHL All-Star Weekend in Columbus is extremely disappointing,” NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly stated in the announcement.
“We feel badly for NHL fans and particularly those in Columbus, and we intend to work closely with the Blue Jackets organization to return the NHL All-Star events to Columbus and their fans as quickly as possible.”
It is hoped that the involvement of the FMCS will bridge the gap between the two entities to negotiate a new CBA and to avoid the cancelation of the entire NHL season.
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