By Michael Caples -
At 5 a.m., the two sides finally agreed.
NHL.com is confirming that the league and the players’ association have reached an agreement on the framework of a new Collective Bargaining Agreement, ending a lockout lasted 113 days and cancelled a significant portion of the NHL season.
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr held a joint press conference in the early hours of Sunday morning to announce the news.
“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,” Bettman said, as quoted on NHL.com. “We have to dot a lot of I’s and cross a lot of T’s. There is still a lot of work to be done, but the basic framework has been agreed upon. We have to go through a ratification process and the Board of Governors has to approve it from the League side and, obviously, the players have to approve it as well. We are not in a position to give you information right now about schedule, when we are starting. It’s early in the morning and we have been at this all day and all night, obviously. But, we will be back to you very shortly, hopefully, later today with more information in that regard.”
Marathon negotiations were conducted between the two sides with the help of Scot Beckenbaugh, deputy director for mediation services for the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service.
“Any process like this in the system we have is difficult; it can be long,” Fehr said. “I’ve said repeatedly throughout this process, somebody would say, ‘What do you see ahead?’ And, the answer was, ‘You get up tomorrow and you try to find a way to do it and you keep doing that until you find a way to succeed.
“As Gary just indicated, we have the framework of a deal. We have to do the legal work and we have to do the constituent-communication work. At least, from my [standpoint], and I’m sure Gary’s too, we need to let them know the details before we tell all of you. Having said that, hopefully, we’re at a place where all those things will proceed fairly rapidly and with some dispatch and we’ll get back to what we used to call business as usual as fast as we can.”
The new CBA must still be written and formally approved by both parties.