The Washington Times - November 26, 2012, 01:24PM

Federal mediators are intervening in the NHL lockout with the hope that they can bridge a wide gap between the league and Players’ Association.

The Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service announced that deputy director Scot L. Beckenbaugh and director of mediation services John Sweeney will serve as the mediators.

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“I think both sides are prepared to try a new approach,” NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said in an e-mail. “Nothing ventured, nothing gained.”

Much of the talk recently has been about the NHLPA decertifying and how it could be the next step during the lockout. Mediation could change course.

“I have had separate, informal discussions with the key representatives of the National Hockey League and the National Hockey League Players’ Association during the course of their negotiations for a successor collective bargaining agreement,” Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service director George H. Cohen said in a statement. “At the invitation of the FMCS, and with the agreement of both parties, the ongoing negotiations will now be conducted under our auspices.”

A federal mediator became involved in the last NHL lockout, in 2005. Three days later the season was canceled.

Mediation was also part of the most recent NFL and NBA lockouts.

Guy Serota was originally set to be part of the mediation. But Serota’s Twitter account became a subject of controversy and he was removed.

“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,” Cohen said in a statement. “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.”