EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) — The Alberta Labor Relations Board has ruled that the NHL's lockout of players from the Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames can continue.
The board said declaring the lockout illegal in the province wouldn't help the league and its players reach a settlement. The players had argued that the Oilers and Flames are Alberta businesses and as such, must abide by provincial labor rules.
Those rules say a mediator must have 14 days to work with both sides in a contract dispute before a lockout vote can be held. The NHL had applied for a mediator in Alberta, but informed the board after three days that it didn't believe meetings would have to be held.
Lawyers for the NHL said the league needs to operate under one set of labor laws to function.
On Wednesday, as the NHL and NHLPA continued negotiations well in to the afternoon in New York, both sides released statements on the matter.
"The players are obviously disappointed with (Wednesday's) decision. Unfortunately, the Alberta Labor Relations Board decided not to exercise its discretion to determine whether the owners' lockout violates Alberta law," the NHLPA said. "We will consider our further options with regard to this case.