NHL talks headed to federal mediation

The National Hockey League and the NHL Players' Association have agreed to the inclusion of federal mediation in ongoing negotiations towards a new Collective Bargaining Agreement.

"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," said federal mediation and conciliation service director George H. Cohen in a statement on Monday.

"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 longstanding practice, the Agency will refrain from any public comment concerning the future schedule and/or the status of the negotiations until further notice."

Mediation by a third party was also done during the 2004-05 lockout. The hope is an objective party will help get the negotiating process on track.

The current work stoppage, which began on Sept. 16, has already caused the cancellation of 422 regular-season games as well as the Winter Classic and All-Star Weekend.