The National Hockey League and the NHL Players' Association met with federal mediators for the first time on Wednesday in an attempt to spur negotiations towards a new Collective Bargaining Agreement.
"A small group of NHLPA staff and players met today with two experienced FMCS (Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service) mediators. We expect that these discussions will resume on Thursday," said players' union executive director Don Fehr after those meetings commenced.
The league also confirmed that meetings will continue, but declined to issue a statement.
Mediation by a third party was also sought out twice during the 2004-05 lockout; once as a last-ditch effort to save the season in February of 2005, and once more during the following summer, with no positive outcome. 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.