National Hockey League owners and players will meet tomorrow, resuming labor talks after two days with federal mediators last week yielded no progress toward reaching a new collective bargaining agreement and ending a player lockout entering its 12th week.
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and NHL Players Association executive director Don Fehr won’t participate in tomorrow’s meeting in New York. Instead, owners and players will meet face- to-face, the NHL said on its website.
Six NHL owners are expected to attend the meeting and the Canadian Press reported that four of them will be taking part in their first negotiations: Mark Chipman of the Winnipeg Jets, Larry Tanenbaum of the Toronto Maple Leafs, Ron Burkle of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Jeff Vinik of the Tampa Bay Lightning.
“There will be owners attending this meeting who have not previously done so, which is encouraging and which we welcome,” Fehr said. “We hope that this meeting will be constructive and lead to a dialogue that will help us find a way to reach an agreement.”
The labor dispute has forced the cancellation of more than a third of the NHL’s regular season so far, including the outdoor Winter Classic, plus the All-Star Game.
The league and NHLPA remained “far apart” after meeting Nov. 28 and 29 under the guidance of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said. Daly and Fehr both said at the time that mediators didn’t think it would be productive to continue discussions and would call the parties back together when they thought the time was right.
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