Richard Bloch has been appointed as the arbitrator in the Kovalchuk contract dispute.
Bloch has extensive experience as an arbitrator in the field of labor law and particularly in sports. He's from New Jersey and is based in Washington. He's worked NHL cases for a long time, and also arbitrated NFL and MLB cases.
He is best known for upholding the suspension of NFL wide receiver Terrell Owens. Owens was suspended after he criticized quarterback Donovan McNabb, called the organization "classless" and fought with former teammate Hugh Douglas. Two days later, the Eagles extended the suspension to four games and told Owens not to return. For conduct proven to be a "destructive and continuing threat" to his team, Bloch ruled that the Eagles were justified in suspending their All-Pro receiver for four games, and were within their rights to deactivate him for the rest of the 2004-2005 season. The next season, Owens was released by the Eagles and Terrell eventually signed with the Dallas Cowboys.
As far as NHL cases, he awarded Scott Gomez a $5 million dollar contract for the 2006-2007 season, doubling his salary from the year before. He also awarded Ray Bourque $2.25 million for the 1993-1994 season and ruled that the Rangers had to pay Bobby Holik and Jed Ortmeyer their respective signing bonuses the team withheld during and after the 2004-05 NHL lockout.
In 2008, he ruled in favor of the NHL in a grievance filed by the NHLPA over designating European drafted players as “defected.” The ruling allowed NHL teams to hold the draft rights of those players more than the usual two years as long as those players continued to play in countries not participating in the International Ice Hockey Federation transfer agreement.
Bloch's record provides no indication which way he will rule. He has come down on both sides - for the leagues and the players.
It's likely for this reason he was agreed upon by the parties.