The NHL owners have done their part to bring the NHL back from its dreaded lockout.
The owners have voted unanimously in favor of the 10-year CBA today and the players are expected to cast their votes Saturday, NHL.com reports. Once the players ratify the CBA, it will become official and the shortened season schedule will be released.
During his press conference, Commissioner Gary Bettman addressed the fans, acknowledging that the league had taken a step backwards with them.
"To the players, who were very clear they wanted to be on the ice and not negotiating labor contracts; to our partners, who support the League financially and personally; and, most importantly, to our fans, who love and have missed NHL hockey, I am sorry," Bettman said. "I know that an explanation or an apology will not erase the hard feelings that have built up over the past few months, but I owe you an apology nevertheless. The National Hockey League has a responsibility to earn back your trust and support whether you watch one game or every game, and that effort begins today… The players are ready to play their hearts out for you. The teams are preparing to welcome you back with open arms. The wait is just about over. Like all of you, we can't wait to drop the puck."
As the league returns, it can expect mixed emotions from its fans, who have missed the game, but are angry at both parties for letting this drag on for so long. Bettman also addressed this.
"Once the players ratify the Agreement, all the things that you love most about NHL hockey — the speed, the intensity, the skill, the teamwork and the incredible passion — will greet you once again," he said. "As I said, we know that no words of apology or explanation will soften the disappointment. I read the letters, I followed the tweets, I read the blogs — we have a lot of work to do."
Once the players ratify the CBA the lockout will be officially lifted and a short training camp can start before a shortened season, most likely to be filled with action, will begin.
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