The NHL and the NHL Players' Association will take a new approach toward resolving their labor dispute as the two sides have agreed to meet with a mediator, multiple media outlets reported Monday. Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service director George Cohen has been called in to provide his services, and he has assigned three people to act as mediators. The first meeting between the two sides involving the mediator will be Wednesday, multiple outlets reported. NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly provided a statement, which read: "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. We have no further comment on the upcoming meetings at the current time." NHLPA executive director Don Fehr said in a statement, "We look forward to their involvement as we continue working to reach an equitable agreement for both the players and the owners." The two sides haven't met in a bargaining session since last Wednesday. Cohen also issued a statement, which read, in part: "At the invitation of the FMCS, and with the agreement of both parties, the ongoing negotiations will now be conducted under our auspices. I have assigned deputy director Scot L. Beckenbaugh, director of mediation services John Sweeney, and commissioner Guy Serota to serve as the mediators.'' However, Serota was later removed as one of the meiators becasue of issues concerning his Twitter account. Cohen issued a staement, which read, according to ProHockeyTalk.com: "Within one hour after I issued a press release announcing that further negotiations between the NHL and NHLPA would be conducted under the auspices of the FMCS, it has been called to my attention that there are issues involving an allegedly hacked Twitter account associated with Commissioner Guy Serota, one of the mediators I assigned. Accordingly, in order to immediately dispel any cloud on the mediation process, and without regard to the merits of the allegations, I have determined to take immediate action, namely to remove Commissioner Serota from this assignment." Mediators will meet with each side separately first to become acquainted with the issues and find places for possible compromise. None of the actions or decisions made by the mediator is bindings Cohen has been involved in mediation with the Major League Soccer, the NFL and NBA. He was an adviser to the NHL players' union before joining the FMCS three years ago. Games through Dec. 14 have already been canceled.
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