NHL and NHLPA reach tentative agreement

Jan. 6, 2013 at 3:31 PM
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NEW YORK, Jan. 6 (UPI) -- The National Hockey League and the players' union reached a tentative agreement early Sunday after a 16-hour negotiating session, officials said.

Negotiations began Saturday afternoon in a Midtown Manhattan hotel and ended with both sides announcing an agreement in principle to end a 113-day owners' lockout around 5 a.m. Sunday, the NHL said in a statement.

"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. "There is still a lot of work to be done, but the basic framework has been agreed upon."

Once the agreement is ratified by the players and owners, a 48- to 50-game season is expected to begin before Jan. 20, The New York Times reported. The Stanley Cup would be awarded by the end of June.

Contract negotiations began Sept. 15, when the players' previous collective bargaining agreement expired. Negotiations were initially hospitable but became increasingly bitter as they dragged out to the point where the cancellation of the rest of the 2012-13 season was imminent.

Bettman had set a Jan. 11 deadline to reach a deal, under which the players' share of hockey-related income will reportedly drop from 57 percent to a 50-50 split.

The salary cap for the upcoming season will also reportedly be $70.2 million and will then drop to $64.3 million for the 2013-14 campaign. All clubs will be required to have a minimum payroll of $44 million.

The deal was reached with the assistance of federal mediator Scot Beckenbaugh, who entered the negotiations Wednesday as the pace of the negotiations picked up.

The new labor deal must still be drafted and formerly approved by both parties to take effect.

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