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Mediators fail to spark progress in NHL's labor dispute

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A pub near the home arena of the NHL Vancouver Canucks posts a sign regarding the current league and players dispute in Vancouver, British C
A pub near the home arena of the NHL Vancouver Canucks posts a sign regarding the current league and players dispute in Vancouver, British C

(Reuters) - Federal mediators brought in to help resolve the National Hockey League's labor dispute have had little impact as the league and locked-out players wrapped up two days of meetings on Thursday with no progress to report.

The NHL and union representing its players brought in U.S. federal mediators to assist in negotiations this week because of the lack of progress since the lockout started in mid-September.

"After spending several hours with both sides over two days, the presiding mediators concluded that the parties remained far apart, and that no progress toward a resolution could be made through further mediation at this point in time," NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said in a statement.

"We are disappointed that the mediation process was not successful."

The lockout, which the NHL has said is costing it $18-$20 million a day, has already resulted in the cancellation of 34 percent of the regular season, the showcase outdoor Winter Classic on New Year's Day and January's All-Star Weekend.

The mediators were brought in with hopes of helping both sides reach an agreement over how to split $3.3 billion in hockey related revenue.

While both sides have agreed in principle to a 50-50 split of hockey related revenue, they remain at odds over how they will reach the target.

Owners are demanding an immediate reduction from the 57 percent players received under the previous agreement while the NHL Players' Association (NHLPA) would like to see the cuts brought in gradually.

The dispute is the NHL's fourth work stoppage in 20 years and first since a 310-day lockout wiped out the 2004-05 season.

"The mediators informed the parties that they did not think it was productive to continue the discussions further today," NHLPA Executive Director Don Fehr said in a statement.

"The mediators indicated that they would stay in contact with the league and the NHLPA, and would call the parties back together when they thought the time was right."

(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Julian Linden)

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