Officials from the NHL and NHL Players’ Association met separately for nearly 13 hours Friday with a federal mediator in New York but there was no face-to-face bargaining to end the lockout as the deadline for the league to cancel the season entirely moved another day closer.
Neither side commented after the end of the session. Negotiations will continue at 10:30 a.m. today.
It’s been widely believed the parties had until Jan. 11 to broker a deal but the Winnipeg Free Press reported Friday that NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman plans to cancel the season on Thursday unless a deal is imminent. The paper, which had the last one-on-one interview with Bettman in November, cited an unnamed Board of Governors member.
The players took another vote on filing a disclaimer of interest and the move reportedly passed easily so that action could be taken this evening if negotiations are proving fruitless. The players had initially approved the action for union executive director Donald Fehr, but he didn’t use it because talks were moving forward.
Negotiations have stalled on several topics, including pensions, and the length of the deal. The league is hoping to start a 48-game season on Jan. 19.