The National Hockey League has cancelled the meeting it had scheduled for Tuesday with the Alberta Labour Board, where the league had planned to ask for a supervised vote to lock out players this weekend.
The league sent the board a letter Monday, asking for the meeting to be cancelled. The reason was not immediately made public.
If the board had agreed to provide a supervised vote, it would have had to happen quickly, as NHL teams have to give the players a minimum 72-hour lockout notice.
The vote would have paved the way for a lockout of Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames players as early as this Saturday.
The player’s association had said they would oppose the application and Josh Gorges, of the Montreal Canadians, said members want to continue negotiations during the season.
"We hope the government won’t allow themselves to be used as rubber stamps in the owners’ rush to impose a lockout, Gorges said.
"The players are committed to negotiating until we reach a deal that is fair for both sides. A lockout should be a last resort, but the fact is the owners are using it as their preferred option. The fact is another option; the law allows the season to start on time under the terms of the current CBA while both sides continue to negotiate."
Another meeting would take up to two weeks to be scheduled.