NHL Lockout Over
The National Hockey League will be back in business next year, after the sides agreed to a six year deal, including a salary cap.
The NHL and the players’ association reached an agreement in principle Wednesday on a six-year labor deal, ending a lockout that wiped out last season. The sides met for 24 hours starting Tuesday afternoon to hammer out the collective bargaining agreement that will return the NHL to the ice on time in the fall. In February, commissioner Gary Bettman canceled the season, making the NHL the first North American sports league to lose a year because of a labor dispute.
“It’s a new day,” Philadelphia Flyers coach Ken Hitchcock told The Associated Press. “It’s pretty exciting.”
Both sides still need to ratify the deal, a pact that is expected to contain a salary cap — something players’ association executive director Bob Goodenow never wanted. That process is expected to be completed next week, the league and the union said in a joint news release.
If all goes according to plan, training camps will open from Vancouver to Miami in September. NHL games will be back on the schedule come October.
As always in these situations, one wonders why the sides couldn’t have made these compromises without losing a year of play. Of course, the pressure of that lost revenue–especially for the players–is usually necessary to force people to do things they would not otherwise agree to.