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Former NFL labor mediator on NHL lockout: “I’d volunteer to do it for free”

Nov 15, 2012, 11:35 AM EDT

Arthur Boylan

The U.S. Magistrate Judge that mediated NFL-NFLPA talks wants a crack at solving the NHL lockout.

“I’d volunteer to do it for free,” Arthur Boylan told ESPN New York. “I’d love to get this thing done.”

Boylan, who helped bridge the gap between NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and NFLPA boss DeMaurice Smith last year, also happens to be a huge hockey fan.

He recently received a refund for part of his Minnesota Wild season tickets and says that there’s too much at stake for more games to be lost.

“They know the future of the game is in their hands,” he said of the NHL and NHLPA. “They’d really be blowing this thing if it doesn’t get resolved, it being the second lockout in recent memory.

“That would be a real disaster for everybody.”

Here’s more, from ESPN’s Katie Strang:

Boylan said he feels mediation is always a wise choice when two sides hit this sort of impasse — the earlier, the better. The judge was tasked with bringing together the NFL and NFLPA after a failed round of mediation before the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service lockout in April 2011.

The first thing he did?

Huddled NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and NFLPA chief DeMaurice Smith together for lunch, talking about everything but football. From his chambers, he slipped the two men out of a side door, evaded the press and found a quiet place for the three of them to grab a bite to eat.

Goodell and Smith had a D.C. connection, Boylan found, a small tie but not too trivial to work with.

“Part of the whole thing about mediation is finding common ground, even if it’s something unrelated. You can find camaraderie in anything,” Boylan said. “And boy, there sure are a lot of traditions in hockey and a love for the sport. One thing leads to another and that commonality, that sure goes a long way.”

The NFL lockout lasted from Mar. 11 to Jul. 25 — 136 days in total.

That said, the Pro Football Hall of Fame game was the only on-field cancelation of the work stoppage.

Related: Will the NHL, union seek a federal mediator soon?

  1. coreydm80 - Nov 15, 2012 at 11:42 AM

    Do it

  2. thomaspratt - Nov 15, 2012 at 11:48 AM

    Mediation would be aimed at finding a compromise solution based loosely on fairness, equity and the good of everyone involved. On that basis alone, the NHL would have no interest.

    • elemeno89 - Nov 15, 2012 at 11:53 AM

      word. all i see and hear about are a bunch of bickering toddlers arguing about how to share…

    • stakex - Nov 15, 2012 at 12:22 PM

      Actually mediation would probably favor the NHL more then the players.

      People always forget that we are in this mess not because the owners are greedy (not to say there not though), but because half the teams in the NHL lose money every year and the league won’t continue with that. That means any mediation would almost certainly insist on an instant pay cut for the players to achieve the main goal of the lockout…

      In that case, it would be the players who have no interest.

      • islesjb - Nov 15, 2012 at 12:36 PM

        Fehr has already said that the NHLPA would consider mediation so that doesn’t seem to be the case.

        He also said that the NHL isn’t “terribly interested in mediation,” but that was probably just more excrement coming out of his mouth.

      • thomaspratt - Nov 15, 2012 at 12:40 PM

        Some people also forget that team’s reported losses can never be taken at face value. Unless you’re an accountant will full access to the complete set of an owner’s books across all their enterprises, there is no way to put those reported losses in context.

        It’s clear that if these owners were simply losing money year after year, with no tax benefit to their other businesses, they wouldn’t own a team for long. No one gets to be rich by clinging to losing investments.No one could keep funding losses year after year if they were simply bleeding money.

        One of the biggest benefits of pro team ownership is the tax write off.

  3. bcsteele - Nov 15, 2012 at 11:50 AM

    I would love to see this guy try and make Fehr and Bettman sit down for lunch.

    Yeah…that’d happen…

    • tfaltin - Nov 15, 2012 at 12:15 PM

      Scene: the bill comes to the table. Everyone ordered surf and turf after Gary said he’d pick up 57% of the tab.

      Gary: After thinking about it, I think it’d be best for everyone involved if we split the check down the middle.

      Don: So you’ll be picking up the tip then I trust?

      Gary: No, that can come from your share.

      Don: *Takes a 20 minute bathroom break, sits at the bar to drink a water with Pierre LeBrun to report the drama over the bill, then returns* So you want me to pay more of the tab, as well as the tip? Why didn’t this come up before we all got lobsters and steaks? What’s in it for me?

      Gary: *red in the face, beginning to stomp his feet* I am done making proposals.

  4. davemeisner - Nov 15, 2012 at 12:27 PM

    You hear that Gary?! He said he would do it for FREE!

  5. mmchugh619 - Nov 15, 2012 at 12:48 PM

    Free should be Bettman’s favorite word these days. I’d be happy to pick the guy up and drive him back and forth everyday. Just get this done already, it’s turning pathetic.

  6. ewoods6 - Nov 15, 2012 at 1:16 PM

    Bettman still won’t go for it. It’s over. Just put us all out of our misery.

  7. atwatercrushesokoye - Nov 15, 2012 at 1:19 PM

    It’s not legally binding, it would be a way to help get things moving, he’s presided over a larger case just over a year ago, sounds like a huge win-win. Best case scenario he helps get things rolling and a contract is agreed upon. Worst case scenario is you can’t find common ground and you’re in the exact same spot you are now. I’m betting the NHL will say no.

  8. leeeroooyjeeenkiiins - Nov 15, 2012 at 2:06 PM

    Oh, I can certainly think of a couple things Bettman and Fehr have in common…

  9. thebadguyswon - Nov 15, 2012 at 2:52 PM

    Find another sport to follow. The NHL is a joke. They care about nothing other than money and you saps for fans that will line up for tickets again after their dance is through. They must laugh at you guys during their meetings. Sad.

  10. lsxphotog - Nov 15, 2012 at 4:12 PM

    Unlike most updates being posted on the CBA, this is actually news. Something needs to be done for the good of hockey. I really don’t care about the players or the owners at this point, I just care about my sport.

  11. bspray - Nov 15, 2012 at 4:44 PM

    I love it that this guy is a season ticket holer.

  12. jeb7524 - Nov 15, 2012 at 6:39 PM

    Look folks….the NHL isn’t interested in having a season. This whole thing cracks me up. The owners don’t want contracts longer than 5 years, but have been handing out 10+ year contracts like its Halloween candy. I wish all the players would just play for national teams and ESPN would broadcast the games with Gary Thorne/Bill Clement and Mike Lange/Ed Olczyk.

  13. dannythebisforbeast - Nov 15, 2012 at 9:04 PM

    And there were BILLIONS at stake if there were no games. Like NFL would have to give back Tv Money. NHL keeps this years money. They were self motivated.

  14. wallyhorse - Nov 16, 2012 at 6:40 AM

    I’m beginning to think the real reason the lockout has lasted this long is there is an owner or two in a position very similar to what we saw with Frank McCourt and the Dodgers before McCourt was forced to sell the Dodgers because of a very nasty divorce from his wife Jamie. Could it very well be there is an owner or two in a similar predicament to McCourt and needs every possible concession or that owner could be headed down the same road as McCourt? That would explain why the NHL and NHLPA are being stupid with this otherwise.

  15. rsances61 - Nov 16, 2012 at 11:10 AM

    Reblogged this on Kick His Ass Sea Bass and commented:
    Please NHL take this guy up on his offer so we can actually have a season

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