It took six months of negotiations and one long night, but early on Sunday morning the NHL and the NHLPA finally agreed to a tentative deal to end the 113-day NHL lockout and salvage a shortened season. A marathon 16-hour negotiating session capped the final agreement.
"We have reached an agreement on the framework of a new collective bargaining agreement, the details of which need to be put to paper," NHL commissioner Gary Bettman told a news conference. "We've got to dot a lot of 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."
Before the new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) becomes official, it must first be ratified by the majority of the league's owners and also the members of the NHLPA.
No immediate details of the deal were available and none had been announced. U.S. federal mediator Scot Beckenbaugh was believed to be crucial in getting both sides to come to terms on a new agreement. Some rumors say it's a 10-year agreement with an opt-out option after eight years and includes defined benefit pensions for the players as well as a $64.3-million salary cap in 2013-14.
Her are some other highlights of the new deal from The Hockey News ...
- The CBA will run for 10 years through 2021-22, with an option to terminate the deal after eight years.
- Players receive defined benefit pension plan.
- Owners and players split revenue 50-50 each season, with the players receiving $300 million in deferred "make-whole payments" to ease the transition from previous system.
- A pro-rated salary cap of $70.2-million for the shortened 2012-13 season followed by a salary cap of $64.3-million in 2013-14. The salary floor will be set at $44 million for both years.
- Seven-year limit on free-agent contracts (eight-year limit when a team signs its own player to an extension).
- A maximum salary variance of 35 percent from year to year, with no more than a 50 percent total difference between any two seasons in the contract.
- Teams can only walk away from a player in salary arbitration who is awarded at least $3.5 million.
- Each team will be given the option of two "amnesty buyouts" that can be used to terminate contracts prior to the 2013-14 season or 2014-15 season. The buyouts will cost two-thirds of the remaining amount on a deal, paid evenly over twice its remaining length, and will count against the players' overall share in revenues, but not the individual team's salary cap.
- Revenue sharing between teams increased to $200 million annually.
- Unrestricted free agency continues to open on July 1.
- The participation of NHL players in future Olympics has yet to be determined. The decision will be made outside of the CBA.
Stay tuned for more information on this developing story.