Collective Bargaining Agreement talks resumed between the National Hockey League and NHL Players’ Association Wednesday, but this time United States federal mediators are involved and will act as an impartial third party.
NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr said a skilled mediator can be helpful, but in the end can’t order either side to do anything.
“If both parties want to find a way to reach an agreement then there are certainly circumstances in which a skilled mediator can be helpful and to get the parties to that point perhaps a little faster than they otherwise would,” Fehr told Prime Time Sports on Sportsnet 590 the Fan Tuesday. “We certainly hope this turns out to be one of those (circumstances).”
Fehr added that although a third party could turn out to be beneficial nothing is guaranteed.
“The presence of an outsider can give you a perspective perhaps that is not immediately ascertainable when you’re on the inside and that would be helpful. But I don’t want to kid anybody, a mediator has no special powers, he can’t order anyone to do anything, he can’t say this is the contract. But these people are trained and they’re pretty skilled at it, so hopefully it’ll be of help.”
The current lockout is going on 74 days and has forced the cancellation 422 regular-season games, the Jan. 1 Winter Classic at Michigan Stadium between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Detroit Red Wings, plus the Jan. 27 all-star game in Columbus. The players have lost a combined total of $442,583,784.26 in salary to date.