Hockey fans don't owe any words to either the NHLPA or the NHL union. Neither side many any ground breaking concessions to keep the season alive. The two sides lost out on some aspects within the new deal, but gained on others. 

Essentially how every contract dispute in the real world gets resolved. 

But don't tell that to the two leaders, Donald Fehr and Gary Bettman, who wanted to "win" the deal outright. Hence the lockout lasting 113 days yet the new deal looking like a lot of people predicted back in September.

Thanks to federal mediator Scot Beckenbaugh, the two sides learned how to negotiate the correct way. It wasn't easy for Beckenbaugh, who for days went back and forth between the two sides.

Distrust over "hidden revenue" late last week almost derailed the entire 2012-13 season. As childish as it sounds, neither side could come face to face with one another. Instead of talking with Beckenbaugh in the room, he had to become the messenger.

Although separated, Beckenbaugh managed to bring the two sides closer. After a full days worth of relaying news from side to side, the trusted mediator felt the two sides could hammer out the final differences face to face.

It took 16 hours of face to face talking, but the new CBA was finally put in place.

During phases of the lockout, the two sides had gone one to two weeks at a time without talking at all. 

They even used the mediation method at one point in late November. After two days NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly announced the mediation stage was over with due to its failure.

Those are just a couple of examples explaining how wacky the 2012-13 NHL lockout truly was. 

Luckily for the league, Beckenbaugh felt the sides were close enough that he could make a difference. He had witnessed the two sides make progress in person, but some simple misunderstandings almost forced the season to end.

Beckenbaugh was able to talk sense into each side, which allowed them to talk sense into each other.

Bringing them back together meant that through words the two sides were closer than ever. Ultimately that instilled trust and confidence into the two sides responsible for the mess at hand.

That was enough for a deal to be made, and all under Beckenbaugh's watch.

For that, he deserves a thank you from all who cared.

But the NHL and NHLPA owe him so much more.