NHL labor peace at last
NEW YORK - There will be an NHL season.
The league and the players' association agreed on a tentative pact to end a 113-day lockout and begin an abbreviated season later this month. The 10-year deal was forged after a 16-hour marathon session led by federal mediator Scot Beckenbaugh, who managed to get the sides back to the bargaining table after negotiations soured last week.
The collective bargaining agreement must be ratified by a majority of the league's 30 owners and the union's membership.
The players' share of hockey-related income will drop from 57 percent to a 50-50 split. The salary cap for the upcoming season will be $70.2 million and will then go down to $64.3 million in the 2013-14 season. All clubs must have a minimum payroll of $44 million.
Free-agent contracts will be limited to a maximum length of seven years, although teams can re-sign their own players to eight-year packages. There are also provisions preventing contracts to be severely frontloaded or backloaded. Either side can opt out of the 10-year CBA after eight years.
All schedule issues, including the length of the season, still need to be worked out. The NHL has models for 50- and 48-game seasons.