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(Reuters) - The National Hockey League (NHL) and the union representing its players met face-to-face along with a federal mediator on Saturday with hopes of ending a lockout in time to salvage a condensed season.
A small group meeting between the league, union and mediator began early Saturday afternoon in New York, according to a NHL Players' Association (NHLPA) spokesman.
The meeting, which began with less than a week to go until the league's self-imposed deadline to reach a deal, marked the first face-to-face dialogue between the league and NHLPA since talks broke down two days ago.
The two sides met separately with the mediator on Friday.
With half of the 2012-13 regular season already lost to the labor dispute, the NHL has set a January 11 deadline for a new deal so that a 48-game campaign could begin eight days later.
The lockout, which the league has said is costing it about $18-$20 million a day, began in mid-September when the previous collective bargaining agreement expired with both sides at odds over how to split the NHL's $3.3 billion in revenue.
The dispute, which follows a lockout that wiped out the entire 2004-05 campaign, is now centered around the salary cap number for the 2013-14 season, the pension fund and length of player contracts.
Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Larry Fine