The National Hockey League and the National Hockey League Players’ Association have agreed in principle to a new collective bargaining agreement Sunday, according to multiple reports. The absence of a collective bargaining agreement prior to this point had resulted in the NHL’s third major work stoppage in the last 18 years, as well as the loss of more than half of the 2012-13 schedule’s games, including the 2013 Winter Classic in Detroit. Though the document still has to be officially ratified, the agreement is very close.
According to reports by TSN’s Darren Dreger and Bob McKenzie, highlights of the new CBA include a change in the draft lottery system, new revenue sharing, a new pension plan, and new variations in player rights including contracting and free agency. There will be a 48-game schedule beginning in the third week of January, with training camps opening this week. Now, the fun begins, as teams scramble to get their rosters assembled and systems implemented.
Whoever you want to attempt to blame for this lockout – Gary Bettman, Don Fehr, rich people, whatever – the fact of the matter is that in the end, it was all about the players and owners as groups. When they wanted to get a deal done, they were able to do so, and it wasn’t because of the meeting that was without union or League leadership. It was because the pressure finally got to the breaking point, with reports that reaching the middle of January without an agreement would result in the cancellation of the entire season. There was
But that is neither here nor there – it’s time for hockey.