Opposing sides reach deal, hockey returns

With the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) one week after a tentative labor deal, the 113 day NHL lockout officially ended on Jan. 12. “We have reached an agreement on the framework of a new collective bargaining agreement, the details of which need to be put to paper,” said Gary Bettman, NHL Commissioner, in an interview with Huff Post Sports.

“We’ve got to dot a lot of Is, cross a lot of Ts. There’s still a lot of work to be done, but the basic framework of the deal has been agreed upon,” said Bettman.

The teams entered training camp the following Sunday for the 48 game season that opened on Jan. 19. All of the games during the shortened season will be played within the conference respectively. 26 teams out of 30 will play on Opening Day.

The 99 day regular season will consist of 720 games total and there will be at least one game per day until the final day of the regular season on April 27. Playoffs will begin on April 30 and the Stanley Cup can last as long as June 28.

The new deal calls for, as stated by CTV News:

  • A 50-50 split of hockey-related revenue between owners and players.
  • A seven-year cap on player contracts, or eight years when a team is re-signing its own player.
  • The salary cap for this season will be $70.2 million before prorating to adjust for the shortened season, and the cap will drop to $64.3 million in 2013-14 – the same amount as 2011-12. There will be a salary floor of $44 million in those years.
  • A 35 percent yearly variance in salary and no more than a 50 per cent difference between any two seasons.
  • There were no changes to eligibility for free agency and salary arbitration.
  • A playoff pool that doubles in size to $13 million for the 2012-13 and 2013-14 seasons.
  • A new defined-benefit pension plan for players.
  • Participation of NHL and its players in the 2014 Sochi Olympics will be determined later in discussions also involving the International Olympic Committee and the International Ice Hockey Federation.

Over 700 union members were given a 36 hour period to vote electronically on the tentative deal that would ultimately end the lockout. Following this voting period, the NHL board of governors approved the deal with a unanimous vote. The deal will be in place for 10 years but either side has the option of opting out after just eight years.

Teams will play 18 games within their division: four games, two home and two away, against two of the teams in the division, five games, three home and two away, against another team in the division and five games, two home and three away, against the remaining divisional opponent, according to yahoo.com.

The 2012 lockout was the fourth lockout in the history of the league. The 1992 strike postponed 30 games of the 1991-92 season. The 1994-95 lockout cancelled many of the games forcing a 48 games season with no inter-conference games, which was the same outcome of this year’s lockout. The 2004-05 lockout cancelled all the games in the season.

The 2012-13 lockout brings the total number of cancelled games under NHL commissioner Gary Bettman to 2,178.

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