After four months of being locked out and a daylong process of lawyers fighting over legal verbiage, the NHL lockout came to an end late Saturday evening marking the return of professional hockey to North America.
After both the owners and NHL Players’ Association members signed off on a new collective bargaining agreement, all that was needed was for lawyers from both sides to hash out the language in the agreement.
Now that everything has been agreed upon, trades, free agent signings, and all normal functions of the league can commence. Players have been skating on an informal basis since Monday but with the agreement in place, will now be skating under the guidance of their respective coaching staffs.
The Columbus Blue Jackets will start a six-day training camp Sunday afternoon. Camp will begin with a 25-man roster including newcomers Brandon Dubinsky, Nick Foligno, and Sergei Bobrovsky.
This training camp is only a shell of a normal training camp. A typical camp lasts over two weeks and includes over 50 players. The only junior call-up was Boone Jenner. Cam Atkinson, Ryan Johansen, Matt Calvert, John Moore, Tim Erixon, and David Savard got the call from Springfield.
Those seven will join a number of others who have been taking part in an unofficial camp led by forward R.J. Umberger.
No exhibition games will be played in preparation of the Blue Jackets’ opener at Nashville Saturday. The Blue Jackets home opener is Jan. 21 against Detroit.
The collective bargaining agreement is for 10 years and calls for a 50/50 split of hockey-related revenue. There is now a contract limit of seven years for free agent signings. Teams resigning players can sign a player to an eight-year deal.