The National Hockey League and its players union may meet again this week to discuss a new CBA, and they'll have federal mediators with them wherever and whenever they get together.
ESPN.com reported the two sides agreed Monday to involve the Federal Mediation and Concilation Service in its ongoing labor talks. The FMCS acted as outside counsel during the 1994 MLB strike and worked with the NFL and NBA during labor negotiations in 2011. A three-man team will mediate the talks.
"At the invitation of the FMCS, and with the agreement of both parties, the the ongoing negotiations will now be conducted under our auspices," FMCS Director George Cohen said.
The NHL Players Association has hinted at the need for outside help in the labor impasse for weeks. The league has seemingly relented after it acted last week to cancel games through Dec. 14 as well as All-Star Weekend in January in Columbus.
"While we have no particular level of expectation going into this process, we welcome a new approach in trying to reach a resolution of the ongoing labor dispute at the earliest possible date," NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said.
The mediators may soon be put to work. Pro Hockey Talk reported bargaining is expected to resume this week, although a day and time aren't yet known.
The two sides last met nearly a week ago. Salaries and contract lengths are among the key issues still dividing the two sides.
The lockout started Sept. 16.