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Blackhawks forward Jamal Mayers calls final labor talks ‘a marathon’

Updated: February 9, 2013 6:25AM

As one of the players who represented the NHL Players’
Association during the lengthy final negotiations in New York, Blackhawks tough guy Jamal Mayers was pounding coffee like he pounds on opponents.

“We had a count. The most I had in one day was seven or eight,” Mayers said Monday of being
involved in the 16-hour negotiations last weekend that led to a tentative agreement with the league to end the lockout.

“It was a marathon. It was a long week. It has its ebbs and flows. You’re excited because you felt you were getting closer, but in the same respect there were still a lot of issues that weren’t resolved. You had to stay focused on what was left.”

In the end, Mayers came away with a deep appreciation for executive director Donald Fehr.

“He kept his cool the entire time and helped players get the best deal possible,” Mayers said.

Mayers thought it was a good deal for the players, despite ample concessions.

“If there’s anything that got better in the last agreement, they definitely aren’t monetary,” Mayers said.

One is a better pension.

“The only thing we probably got out of this is the pension, having it be a defined-benefit plan,” he said.

Hossa the prophet

Winger Marian Hossa never thought the lockout would lead to another completely lost season. After being cleared medically from his concussion in November, he had offers from European teams and declined.

“I always thought there was
going to be a season,” he said. “I got a few offers from Europe, and I told them I still believe they’re going to get this done.”

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