NHL cancels draft in Ottawa

March 24, 2005 at 10:15 AM

NEW YORK, March 24 (UPI) -- The National Hockey League announced Thursday it has canceled its 2005 draft because of the contract dispute that knocked out the entire season.

The draft had been scheduled June 25-26 at the Corel Centre in Ottawa.

"In the absence of a collective bargaining agreement, we are not able to conduct an entry draft in the traditional sense on the dates scheduled," said Bill Daly, the league's exeutive vice president and chief legal officer.

If the labor dispute is resolved, it is possible a draft could be conducted by a conference call or special meeting.

The NHL canceled the entire 2004-25 season because negotiators for the league and players union were unable to work out a new collective bargaining agreement.

The old contract expired in September and players were locked out, nearly 400 of them joining teams in Europe.

"We apologize to the fans who had planned to attend this great event or participate in draft parties both at their local NHL arenas and elsewhere," Daly said.

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