Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Season halfway to commencement: NHL ratifies CBA

New York, NY -- The National Hockey League has taken a giant step towards restorin the league, ratifying a new Collective Bargaining Agreement.

The Board of Governors gave its approval on Wednesday by a 30-0 vote, and the news was formally announced by Chairman of the Board and Boston Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs.
"On behalf of the National Hockey League's Board of Governors, I am pleased to report that today we unanimously voted to ratify a new Collective Bargaining Agreement with the National Hockey League Players' Association. Which means, to our fans all around the globe, hockey is back. This great game has been gone for far too long, and for that we are truly sorry," Jacobs stated.

"The Board today also expressed its appreciation for the professionalism and commitment, to our clubs and to the sport, that Commissioner Bettman and Deputy Commissioner Daly displayed throughout this difficult period. Gary, Bill and their staff worked tirelessly from long before the lockout began in an effort to reach a constructive conclusion. Gary and Bill have the complete and unconditional support of the Board – and our gratitude.

"As our League moves toward what we know will be a period of growth for the sport, and a time of great excitement and entertainment for our fans, I would add the appreciation of the Board for the dedication the players showed during the negotiating process – and for their role in securing an agreement that will move the National Hockey League forward in the years ahead. There’s no doubt we all love this game. Together our collective future is extremely bright. Our only interest now is to look ahead and to focus on what this great game can provide to the best sports fans in the world."

The last remaining step towards an official start to the 2012-13 season will be the NHLPA's ratification of the same.

Bettman also took to the podium and issued an apology for the events which led to the 113-day lockout, the third of his tenure.

"I'm sorry. I know an apology or explanation isn't enough, but I owe you an apology. I read the letters, I followed the tweets. I read the blogs. We have a lot of work to do ... that effort begins today."
Bettman would not specify what exactly those effort will be, stating: "That's in the process of being worked on. It will be announced at the appropriate time. There will be outreaches and efforts that will be made clear."

Most curiously, the embattled head of the league also spoke on behalf of his former enemies -- the players -- adding in his remarks they "will be ready to play their hearts out" for the fans.

No official word has been given, but TSN of Canada reports that the players' union vote to ratify the CBA will occur on Friday and Saturday.

The new accord will last for 10 years, with an opt-out clause in eight. 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.

Bettman has previously stated that a regular-season schedule of at least 48 games must begin by Jan. 19. The existing 2012-13 NHL schedule had already been canceled through Jan. 14.

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