Lockout ends: NHL season will happen

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NEW YORK (AP) -- 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 announced this morning following a marathon negotiating session that lasted more than 16 hours. The deal was forged through the help of federal mediator Scot Beckenbaugh, who managed to get the sides back to the bargaining table after negotiations began to sour in the middle of 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.

Although the new CBA runs for the next decade, each side is able to opt out after eight.

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.



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