NHL players to begin voting on new deal Friday
New York Rangers players, including Ryan Callahan, bottom right, listen during an informal NHL hockey workout, Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2013, in Greenburgh, NY. (AP / Seth Wenig)
Published Thursday, January 10, 2013 9:06AM EST
The fate of a shortened NHL season is now in the hands of approximately 700 players who are expected to begin voting on a new collective agreement on Friday.
Electronic voting will take place over two days. If a majority of the players agree to the terms, training camps can begin as early as Sunday with a shortened 48-game season likely to begin Jan. 19.
With no more than seven days between the opening of camps and the start of the season, and no preseason games, there is little room for slipups.
"It's one thing to skate and check out their conditioning and everything else, but you don't get a chance to experiment much with lineups and lines and combinations," Washington Capitals general manager George McPhee told The Associated Press. "That's the hardest thing for managers right now. A lot of unknowns ... but we're excited nonetheless to get going."
NHL owners unanimously approved the labour deal reached with the NHL players’ association on Wednesday.
Upon announcing the ratification, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman apologized to fans for the lengthy lockout and said the league has much work to do to bring frustrated fans back to the rinks.
“To the players who were very clear they wanted to be on the ice and not negotiating labour contracts, to our partners who support the league financially and personally-- and most importantly-- to our fans, who love and have missed NHL hockey: I’m sorry,” he said.
With nearly 20 years as the NHL commissioner, Bettman has presided over three lockouts, with 2,208 games lost over labour disputes.
The 113-day lockout which saw the cancellation of 510 games came to an end early Sunday morning with both sides reaching an agreement following a marathon 16-hour bargaining session.
Details of the new CBA have not been made public, but according to TSN the 10-year agreement includes: a 50-50 split of hockey-related revenue for players, down from 57 per cent; a $64.3 million salary cap in 2013-14; an opt-out clause that kicks in after eight years; a 35 per cent yearly variance in salary and no more than 50 per cent difference between any two seasons.
With files from The Associated Press