Flames, Oilers could hit lockout legal snag

The Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames could hit a legal snag if the National Hockey League locks out its players on Sept. 15, according to the Edmonton Journal.

A lockout vote is required in the province of Alberta by the NHL owners in order for Daryl Katz, owner of the Oilers, and the group of businessmen who own the Flames, to legally lock out their players if there is no new collective bargaining agreement in place by the deadline.

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The NHL has to request Alberta to appoint a mediator, under the provincial law, who theoretically could work to have an agreement in place between the warring sides before the NHL owners can hold a lockout vote. A mediator was appointed on Aug. 21.

However, the Players’ Association has filed a challenge to this — arguing that the NHL’s lockout vote would be defective because the league failed to take certain steps when it asked for a mediator for the dispute.

The law requires the mediator to wait 14 days but the NHLPA contends the league has shown no interest in using the mediator to try to get a resolution. It says the league insisted the mediator leave his task after three days with no meetings convened between the two sides.

The NHLPA is arguing the league is trying to rush the clearance for a lockout without following the necessary steps in Alberta and if the Alberta Labour Relations Board agrees, the league couldn’t legally lock out Oilers winger Ryan Smyth or Flames captain Jarome Iginla or any other Edmonton or Calgary players.