NHL season finally set to start
The NHL season is poised to get under way after the league and the NHL Players' Association reached broad agreement on a new labour deal.
The league has locked out its players since the expiration of the previous collective bargaining agreement four months ago, forcing the cancellation of more than half the regular season.
But after 16 hours of negotiation, the sides announced at around 6am local time yesterday morning they had found common ground.
"We still have more work to do, but it is good to be at this point," NHL commissioner Gary Bettman told www.nhl.com.
A statement on the NHL website confirmed the outline of a deal had been agreed, although it is not yet official.
"The National Hockey League and the National Hockey League Players' Association reached agreement on the framework of a new Collective Bargaining Agreement early Sunday morning," the statement said.
"After a marathon 16-plus hour negotiating session at the Sofitel Hotel that began Saturday afternoon, the sides announced an agreement in principle shortly after 5am Sunday.
"The new CBA, which still must be drafted and formerly approved by both parties would replace the agreement that expired September 15."
No start date for the season has yet been announced, with reports speculating it will be a schedule of 48 or 50 games.
NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr said: "Hopefully, we're at a place where...we'll get back to what we used to call business as usual as fast as we can."
Reports suggest the agreement will last 10 years, with a salary cap of 64.3million US dollars for next season, reduced from USD 70.2million this season.