NHL Players' Association executive director Donald Fehr says negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement won't take a Christmas holiday.
Joining TSN Radio 1050's Cybulski & Company on the same day the league announced the cancellation of all games scheduled through Jan. 14, Fehr expressed hope that momentum towards a new deal could continue as the traditionally slow business period of the holidays arrives.
"We owe that to the fans and we obviously owe it to our own members and I believe the NHL would owe it to its owners, so hopefully that won't be an impediment," Fehr said.
"I'll make the following assumption," Fehr told TSN, "we're involved in serious negotiations. We've got to try to find a way to make an agreement and for my part and my staff we'll make whoever needs to be available available in order to get the job done."
Thursday's cancellation announcement brought the total number of games lost to 625 over the course of the lockout, which began Sept. 15.
The question now remains whether the real negotiating begins with speculation that an end is near.
"Sometimes I think we've been waiting for those for many, many months now," Fehr said.
Fehr stated that he believes both sides have to be willing to negotiate to get a deal done in time, and admitted that the parties have been in contact in hopes of re-starting talks.
"There have been conversations between the offices. Yes."
In terms of committing to whether he believes there will or will not be a season, Fehr was not as definitive as NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly was on Wednesday when he stated that he believed there would be a season.
"Bill Daly said yesterday apparently there will be a season and we certainly hope he's right," Fehr said. "That's what the players want."