Earlier this morning, the four month NHL lockout came to an end. After 16 consecutive hours of talking between the NHL and NHLPA an agreement was made.
Oh how sweet it is.
The final step includes three pieces of ratification. First, the NHL's Board of Governors must come up with at least 16 out of the 30 possible votes. Second, the union's executive committee must come up with at least two-thirds of the votes. Lastly, the union's membership must come up with 51% of the votes.
Of course that will happen, and the NHL will be back in business.
The only question hockey fans have now, is a question they've been asking for 113 days.
When will opening night be?
That question is still up in the air, but it will either be January 15th (50 games) or January 19th (48 games).
The deal is made just five days before Gary Bettman's season cancellation date of January 11th.
A big thank you has to be made to federal mediator Scot Beckenbaugh who went back and forth between the two sides all week long. For days he was seen going from the NHLPA to the NHL over and over again. It was yesterday when he decided to bring the two sides together because they appeared close on the issues at hand. He sure made the right call on that one.
A bigger thank you has to go out to the fans who sat through this mess through every stage. As everybody knows, this lockout was filled with bad blood and almost seemed like neither side wanted to work with the other. The fans cared more than either side negotiating the deal did.
Hockey fans, today is your day.