3 Legal Lessons From the NHL Lockout, Even If You Don't Like Hockey - Tarnished Twenty
Tarnished Twenty- The FindLaw Sports Law Blog

3 Legal Lessons From the NHL Lockout, Even If You Don't Like Hockey

The NHL lockout is finally over after 113 days. So hockey fans, all five of you, can rejoice.

While much of America may not have even noticed that there was no hockey, NHL players and team owners were busy working out a collective bargaining agreement through mediation that would meet players' demands and alleviate owners' concerns, Reuters reports.

Even if you are not a hockey fan, the process by which the two sides reached an agreement is common for workers everywhere. Here are three legal lessons from the NHL lockout and the mediation process:

  1. Mediators have to watch what they say on Twitter. You'd figure that a mediator would have better sense than to make wisecracks on social media. But that wasn't the case with Guy Serota, the federal mediator originally assigned to the matter. Serota apparently made some off-color jokes having nothing to do with hockey on his Twitter feed, and the NHL dropped him as a mediator as a result, Yahoo! Sports reports. You want your mediators to show excellent judgment, and an adult making dumb jokes on Twitter apparently doesn't reflect that.

  2. Emotions can make mediation drag on. Some say that the NHL lockout could have been solved much earlier had emotions not played such a big part in the dispute. Emotions like the desire to "win," to stick it to the other side, and to always counter-offer may be counterproductive to mediation. Instead, parties should view mediation as a collaborative process in which both sides work on a mutual solution, one mediator suggests in a column for Mediate.com.

  3. There are several different types of mediation. Before you decide that mediation is not the right format to resolve your dispute, you should be aware there are many different types of the process. In facilitative mediation, the mediator assists the parties in reaching a mutually agreeable resolution. The facilitative mediator plays a hands-off role and leaves it to the parties to come up with a resolution. On the other hand, a mediator in evaluative mediation plays a role much closer to a judge and may make recommendations and point out weaknesses with certain arguments.

With the NHL lockout finally over and football season coming to an end, sports fans will soon have something to watch on TV when basketball isn't on. They'll also have a few legal lessons from the lockout on their side.

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