It’s over, it’s finally over. The NHL and the players union have finally reached a tentative agreement that will end the 113 day lockout and return hockey to the masses. A deal was struck in the early hours on Sunday morning, meaning the start of the 2012-13 hockey season is right around the corner.
Hockey Night in Canada’s Elliotte Friedman was the first to break the story of the agreement.
According to Friedman, the immediate details of the new deal have not yet been made available, but some details have been leaked. Friedman states that the deal is structured much like the new CBA’s for the NFL and NBA where it’s a 10-year contract with an opt-out clause after year eight. The salary cap has also been raised by roughly $3 million, from $60 million to now $63.4 million.
The biggest detail of all has been confirmed: hockey is back.
Talks broke down last Thursday, but they resumed in a 16-hour marathon of meetings and bargaining. A deal seemed imminent late Saturday night, but nothing could yet be confirmed until early Sunday morning.
As far as when the season will start and how long the season will be, those details have either yet to be hashed out or just yet to be released. The feeling is that the NHL will play a schedule much like the NBA did where the season is condensed into an intense schedule that packs as many games into a short amount of time as possible. There is no set start date, but games should begin sometime in the next 2-3 weeks, if not sooner.
The NHL lockout has been one of the uglier labor disputes in professional sports in recent memory. Many thought that the season would be lost altogether and some even feared that this lockout could cripple the sport. But unlike the lockout of 2004-05, the entire season has not been lost and we will at least get half a season of hockey in our lives.
And at the very least, this won’t happen again for at least another eight years.