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NHL cancels first part of regular season

  |   Oct. 4, 2012 at 4:12 PM
NEW YORK, Oct. 4 (UPI) -- NHL officials on Thursday canceled the league's regular-season games from Oct. 11-24 due to the ongoing lockout of the players.

The season was to have started next week but officials have canceled a total of 82 games.

"The cancellation was necessary because of the absence of a Collective Bargaining Agreement between the NHL Players' Association and the NHL," a brief announcement on the NHL website said.

NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said after a negotiation session ended Tuesday, "Today wasn't overall encouraging." He reported "no progress" toward a new agreement.

"The decision to cancel the first two weeks of the NHL season is the unilateral choice of the NHL owners," NHL Players' Association Executive Director Donald Fehr said in a statement. "If the owners truly cared about the game and the fans, they would lift the lockout and allow the season to begin on time while negotiations continue. ...

"(T)he players remain committed to playing hockey while the parties work to reach a deal that is fair for both sides. We hope we will soon have a willing negotiating partner."

The NHL called off all pre-season games earlier as the owners' lockout, which began at 11:59 p.m. Sept. 15, suspended workouts and other training activities.

The 2012-13 schedule on the NHL website now begins with games Oct. 25.

Money earmarked for players remains the center of the lockout. Under the recently expired collective bargaining agreement, players received 57 percent of total revenues. NHL owners want to cut that to 47 percent.

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