Let’s play hockey! NHL, NHLPA strike tentative deal to end lockout

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It took millions of dollars in lost revenue and paychecks, but early this morning in New York the NHL and NHLPA struck a tentative deal to end the league’s lockout that had been in place since Sept. 15.

“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 told reporters after a marathon bargaining session.

“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.

“I would be remiss if we didn’t think thank Scot Beckenbaugh, the deputy director of the FMCS (Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service) in the United States, for his assistance in the mediation process, and I want to thank [NHLPA executive director] Don Fehr, because he and the players’ association, as well as the people that work with me at the league went through a long, tough period, and we still have more work to do, but it’s good to be at this point.”

Added Fehr while standing beside Bettman: “Hopefully within a very few days, the fans can get back to watching people who are skating, not the two of us.”

Much, much more to come…