NHL and NHLPA agree to new CBA, end the lockout
If you listen closely, you can hear hockey fans from the east coast to west celebrating. And, no, it’s not because Team USA won the WJC. The NHL lockout is over. Yes, you read that correctly.
After 113 days of almost-deals, name-calling, and frustrated fans, the NHL and the NHLPA have finally reached a deal that lays out the framework for a new Collective Bargaining Agreement. The two sides announced the agreement at 6 a.m. Sunday morning after a 16-hour meeting in New York City. League Commissioner Gary Bettman and NHLPA Executive Director Donald Fehr announced the agreement together.
“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,” said Bettman. “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.”
Bettman stressed that the agreement still has to be agreed upon by the Board of Governors and the players, but that there will be a hockey season, albeit a shortened one. He added that news on schedules will be forthcoming.
“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,” said Bettman.
Details of the new CBA won’t be released to the public until everything has been put on paper and legally approved, but that’s just a matter of days. It’s good to see an agreement reached, especially since the NHL was rapidly approaching the deadline to cancel the season as a whole.
As for the players, Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference tweeted a simple “thumbs up” emoticon at 4 a.m.
He also added a series of tweets, saying, “as players we can now do what we do best. Proudly pull on our jerseys and play with complete passion for our cities and fans.”
Ference also added that he hoped that ending the lockout could decrease the negativity that the league has attracted and that the players will “play our hearts out” for the fans.
Bruins TV announcer Jack Edwards had a suggestion for the league, tweeting, “how about painting “WE’RE SORRY!” at each blue line?”
I, for one, can’t wait for the action to start back up on the ice. Yes, the lockout was grueling. Yes, it was frustrating. But oh man, I’m happy that hockey is back!