With the threat that the NHL could cancel the remainder of the regular season in the coming weeks, it’s time for the lockout to come to an end and get hockey back up and running at the elite level. If this means turning the negotiations over to a third party mediator then so be it. And they have the perfect man to do. Enter Judge Arthur Boylan.
Katie Strang of ESPN NHL wrote an interesting article based on her conversation with Judge Boylan, who has said he would love a shot at ending the lockout that has endured more than two months.
Strang writes that Boylan is a “Minnesota-based chief federal magistrate” and is feeling the effects of the work stoppage first hand given that he is a season ticket holder of the Wild. She also notes that Boylan received his compensation for the lost game against the Detroit Red Wings that was slated to take place last week.
Here we have not only a hockey fan but a full-time supporter of the Wild and he’s stated he would love to have a shot at ending the lockout and as he told Strang, he would even do it for free!
“I’d volunteer to do it for free, I’d love to get this thing done.”
The other feather in Boylan’s cap is that he has experience with sports lockouts as he was the mediator that helped bridge the gap between the NFL and NFLPA that helped them avoid a potential ugly lockout in 2011. He simply got the two sides together as Strang points out in her article and forced them to communicate with each other. Boylan told Strang he could see how much each side loved the game and by helping them find common ground they were able to resolve their differences and save the game.
Both the NHL and NHLPA have said they’d be willing to explore the possibility of bringing in a third party mediator, but the the only problem is, neither side has stepped up and suggested this route be taken. Instead they acknowledge it as a last resort, despite the talk that the entire season could be lost.
The only way a mediator would work is if both sides agree to go that route. In which case, the most drastic measures would be where both sides present their offers and if it were Judge Boylan, he would choose which one best suited for the NHL going forward. Both sides would have to live with the decision so while it sounds easy enough, keep in mind that neither side is willing to make deep concessions when it comes to the salary cap, contracts and revenue sharing. Their stance could be jeopardized if it went to the mediator’s decision and in this case both the league and the player’s have a lot to lose based on what their proposals have been to date.
But you have to think that if both the NHL and NHLPA are truly serious about saving the season then they’ll turn to a mediator before the entire regular season schedule gets wiped out. And the great thing is they have a judge who’s willing to do it for free, meaning neither side would have to pay the expenses. Something that’s been another arguing point in the CBA discussions.
When asked if he thinks a deal will get done, Boylan is one of the optimists that still holds on to hope as he told Strang he believes that a deal will be worked out.
Let’s hope so, otherwise, give it to Boylan and let him make the decision. At least he has the best interest for the game at hand, more than what could be said for either side right now.
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