The NHL and NHLPA announced they have reached a tentative deal on a new collective bargaining agreement, thus ending the 113-day owners’ lockout.
The announcement came early Sunday morning from Commissioner Gary Bettman and union Executive Director Don Fehr, after a marathon 16-hour negotiation.
Bettman said last week that a deal would have to be reached by Jan. 11 to salvage any of the season.
No date for the start of play has been set, but those details are expected to come out later Sunday or in the next few days. But when Bettman issued his Jan. 11 threshold, he stated he couldn’t see a season of less than 48 games making sense, and a starting date of Jan. 19.
The protracted agreement was held up on several issues. The players succumbed to the owners' demand for a 10-year CBA, with an opt-out clause after eight seasons, while the owners budged from their $60 million salary cap wishes for the 2013-14 season, and it will be set around $64 million. In the first year the cap will be set at $60 million with teams allowed to spend upwards of $70 million. The salary cap floor for the first two years is reportedly set at $44 million.
There will be a maximum contract length of seven years, or eight if a team is retaining their own player. Also salaries cannot vary more than 35 percent from year to year, and the last year of a contract cannot vary more 50 percent from any year.
It’s important to note the agreement still has to be ratified by the NHL Board of Governors and the players, and the actual CBA hasn’t been written yet.
This was the second lockout in the past eight years for the NHL, with the last one canceling all of the 2004-05 season.