The National Hockey League (NHL) and the National Hockey League Players' Association (NHLPA) reached an agreement on the framework of a new collective agreement early Jan. 6, paving the way for the end to the months-long lockout.
According to a press release from the NHL, the sides announced an agreement in principle around 6 a.m. after a marathon 16-plus hour bargaining session. The agreement would guarantee labour peace until at least 2020.
“(NHLPA executive director) 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,” NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said, in a press release.
“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. We have to go through a ratification process and the Board of Governors has to approve it from the League side and, obviously, the players have to approve it as well. 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."
Fehr, meanwhile expressed an eagerness for his constituency to get back to playing hockey after a negotiation that stretched across 113 days.
"Any process like this in the system we have is difficult; it can be long," Fehr said, in the press release.
"I've said repeatedly throughout this process, somebody would say, 'What do you see ahead?' And, the answer was, 'You get up tomorrow and you try to find a way to do it and you keep doing that until you find a way to succeed.
"As Gary just indicated, we have the framework of a deal. We have to do the legal work and we have to do the constituent-communication work. At least, from my (standpoint), and I'm sure Gary's too, we need to let them know the details before we tell all of you. Having said that, hopefully, we're at a place where all those things will proceed fairly rapidly and with some dispatch and we'll get back to what we used to call business as usual as fast as we can."
The agreement, which still must be drafted and formally approved by both parties, would replace the agreement that expired Sept. 15.