NHL owners, players to meet without leaders

Last updated 15:47 03/12/2012

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National Hockey League (NHL) owners and players will meet face-to-face on Wednesday (NZ time) in an attempt to broker a deal to end their bitter dispute that threatens to wipe out the season.

The meeting will take place in New York with the heads of the two feuding sides, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and NHL Players Association (NHLPA) Executive Director Don Fehr both agreeing to skip the meeting.

NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said in a statement today that at least six team owners would attend the meeting.

"We have confirmed with the union that we will attempt to schedule a players/owners-only meeting for some time on Tuesday afternoon in New York," Daly said.

"We expect the following NHL owners to attend: Ron Burkle (Pittsburgh Penguins), Mark Chipman (Winnipeg Jets), Murray Edwards (Calgary Flames), Jeremy Jacobs (Boston Bruins), Larry Tanenbaum (Toronto Maple Leafs) and Jeff Vinik (Tampa Bay Lightning)."

Bettman and Fehr agreed to stand aside and miss the meeting after previous attempts to reach a deal failed, raising fears the season could be lost.

Hundreds of games have already been cancelled and just last week, a meeting with federal mediators broke up after two days of unsuccessful sessions.

"Neither the commissioner nor I will be present, although each side will have a limited number of staff or counsel present," Fehr said in a statement.

"There will be owners attending this meeting who have not previously done so, which is encouraging and which we welcome.

"We hope that this meeting will be constructive and lead to a dialogue that will help us find a way to reach an agreement."

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