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Hockey Deal Reached

Marthon Negotiating Session Leads to Agreement

THE NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE AND THE NHLPA (Players' union) have reached a tentative agreement to end the 113-day lockout and begin the process of formally adopting the new Collective Bargaining Agreement.  The deal was informally agreed to just before 5 am this morning (Sunday) and publicly disclosed at 6 am when the NHL  released a statement that says in part:

After a marathon 16-plus hour negotiating session at the Sofitel Hotel that began Saturday afternoon, the sides announced an agreement in principle shortly after 6 a.m. Sunday.

The deal, agreed to at approximately 4:40 a.m., was announced jointly by NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and NHLPA Executive Director Donald Fehr in the same hotel conference room where the negotiations were conducted with the assistance of Scot Beckenbaugh, Deputy Director for Mediation Services for the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service.

"Don Fehr and I are here to tell you that we have reached an agreement on the framework of a new Collective Bargaining Agreement, the details of which need to be put to paper," NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said. "We have to dot a lot of I's and cross a lot of T's. There is still a lot of work to be done, but the basic framework has been agreed upon. We have to go through a ratification process and the Board of Governors has to approve it from the League side and, obviously, the players have to approve it as well. We are not in a position to give you information right now about schedule, when we are starting. It's early in the morning and we have been at this all day and all night, obviously. But, we will be back to you very shortly, hopefully, later today with more information in that regard."

Fehr, meanwhile expressed an eagerness for his constituency to get back to playing hockey after a negotiation that stretched across 113 days.

"Any process like this in the system we have is difficult; it can be long," Fehr said. "I've said repeatedly throughout this process, somebody would say, 'What do you see ahead?' And, the answer was, 'You get up tomorrow and you try to find a way to do it and you keep doing that until you find a way to succeed.

"As Gary just indicated, we have the framework of a deal. We have to do the legal work and we have to do the constituent-communication work. At least, from my [standpoint], and I'm sure Gary's too, we need to let them know the details before we tell all of you. Having said that, hopefully, we're at a place where all those things will proceed fairly rapidly and with some dispatch and we'll get back to what we used to call business as usual as fast as we can."

This initial statement did not say anything about the startup date or the number of games to be played, but it was widely known that they are planning on opening training camps this Saturday, January 5 and begin playing a 48-game abbreviated season on January 11.

This report was later updated with more information in our Morning Lineup HERE.

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