Hockey Fans Unshackled as NHL Lockout is Over!

Bruce Bennett

After over 16 hours of meetings, the NHL and NHLPA have reportedly come to a tentative agreement on a new collective bargaining agreement, saving the hockey season.

The Lockout is over! According to multiple sources (ESPN, TSN, Denver Post), after months of negotiations, threats and game cancelations, hockey is finally, mercifully back as a tentative agreement is in place for a new CBA. The new CBA still needs to be ratified before it is finalized.

The NHL and the NHLPA negotiated into the wee hours of the morning on Sunday before finally coming to an agreement on a new CBA. News broke a little after 3 a.m. Arizona time.

According to Yahoo! NHL writer Nick Cotsonika, the CBA will have a term length of 10 years with an opt-out after eight. New contracts will be limited to seven years (eight years for re-sign). Finally, salary cap will be $64.3 million for the 2013-2014 season.

The two sides negotiated for over 16 hours as Saturday night turned into Sunday morning. Several members of the hockey media trudged through the doldrums of the early morning sessions and managed to tweet out any information they could. ESPN’s Pierre Lebrun even tweeted about watching the local New York papers being delivered to the NHLPA hotel around 3 a.m. Eastern time.

Check back with Five for Howling throughout the day for updates and more details on the new CBA. Phoenix Coyotes fans and NHL fans around the world can rejoice as the North American hockey nightmare is finally over.

UPDATES: Winnipeg Jets defenseman Ron Hainsey said that the season will be either 48 or 50 games. A 48-game season would begin on Jan. 19 and a 50-game season would begin on Jan. 15 according to LeBrun.

According to TSN's Darren Dreger, training camps will open on either Wednesday, Thursday or Friday depending on the CBA ratification. Dreger also reported that disciplinary actions will change and will be as follows: Brendan Shanahan makes 1st decision, players can then appeal to Gary Bettman. For suspensions of six or more games, "a neutral third party will make the decision if necessary." Finally, Dreger reported that the draft lottery will change by allowing all 14 non-playoff teams to be eligible for the 1st overall pick.

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