After a 16-hour negotiation session on the 113th day of the NHL lockout, the league and players reached a tentative agreement on a CBA.
NEW YORK - The NHL and the NHL Players’ Association crossed the finish line with their own New York City Marathon and the 113-day old lockout is over.
After being holed-up in a Manhattan hotel for more than 16 hours, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr confirmed Sunday morning they’ve got a tentative deal on a new 10-year CBA.
The league would like to have 50 game schedule starting on Jan. 15, but Jan. 19 is more likely given all the work that has to be done. All the play will be inter-conference.
"We have reached on an agreement on the framework of a new collective bargaining agreement," said Bettman at 5:45 a.m. EST. "The details, of which, need to be put to paper. We've got to dot a lot i's and cross a lot of t's _ there’s still a lot of work to be done, but the basic framework of the deal has been agreed upon."
Both must now go to their respective constituents - Bettman to the 30 board of governors and Fehr to the 730 players - to outline the highlights of the deal that was reached after the two sides were sent back to the table for the marathon session by federal mediator Scot Beckenbaugh.
"Any process like this, in the system we have, is difficult and it can be long," said Fehr. "I’ve said repeatedly throughout this process, you get up tomorrow and try to find a way to do it again. You keep doing that until you find a way to succeed.
"We have the framework of a deal, we have to do the legal work and the constituent communication work. We need to let them know details. Hopefully, we’re at a place where all those things will proceed fairly rapidly. We’ll get back to business as usual just as fast as we can."
The two sides got down to brass tacks on the major issues throughout the course of Saturday and the talks wrapped up in the wee hours of Sunday morning.
"Hopefully in a very few days people can get back to watching people who are skating, not the two of us," quipped Fehr.
They were able to close the book on:
- A salary cap for next season of $64.3 million in 2013-14.
- The terms of contracts will be seven years and eight years for your own player.
- The variance of those deals will be in the neighborhood of 30-50%.
- Each team will be allowed two compliance buyouts in 2013-14.
- The issue of pensions and how they're funded. Player rep Ron Hainsey said the pensions were a key to the deal.
There was a breakthrough Saturday and that's when Beckenbaugh decided the two sides should get together again. Both had shown a willingness to budge during separate mediation meetings over 24 hours.
Beckenbaugh was a busy man for nearly 13 hours Friday. He made several trips from the NHL's headquarters to the union's hotel and he started that process again Saturday at 11 a.m. before calling the meeting at 1:15 p.m.
It was the first time the two sides were in the same room since talks broke off Thursday. The players were upset the NHL tried to make changes to hockey related revenues at the 11th hour and didn’t want to return to the table.
That's when Beckenbaugh started his march Friday between the two sides to try to entice them to show enough movement to get a deal done. The players were relieved the process is over and they’ll get back to playing.
"It’s good to have a tentative deal," said Hainsey. "It was a battle. Gary said a month ago it was a tough negotiation. That’s what it was. Players would rather not have been here, but our focus is to give the fans the most exciting season we can.
"The mood has been nervous for awhile. You want to be playing. You want to be done with this. I don’t know if it was any more or less. I think you could tell we were making progress throughout the day."