Hockey fans everywhere can rejoice, the season has been saved and the lockout is over! Will I forgive Fehr and Bettman and company for losing half a season and doing long-term damage to the sport? No. Today, however, I can’t even feel mad at those two jagoffs. All I can feel today is excitement that the lockout is over and hockey is back!
I woke up at 3:30 AM last night and checked twitter to see how the negotiations had ended (and to make sure nothing had blown up). To my surprise, both sides were still negotiating. I basically couldn’t go back to sleep after that, because I knew that if Fehr and Bettman were still negotiating at 3:30 AM that a deal was imminent.
At 4:45 AM, 113 days into this work stoppage, the lockout ended when Fehr and Bettman jointly announced that they had a framework of an agreement.
Some of the highlights:
50-50 share of hockey related revenue
10 year CBA (with an opt-out after 8 years)
Two amnesty buyouts per team
Seven-year limit on player contracts (8 if the player re-signs with his own team)
Back-diving contracts limited: maximum salary variance is 35% year to year and can’t exceed 50% over the life of the contract
Teams are allowed to spend up to $70.2 million in year 1 with a $44 million floor, with a $64.3 million salary cap in year two (this was one of the last items decided)
Pension issues were also settled and are the one area where players are better off than they were under the previous CBA agreement.
Depending on when the players and the NHL’s Board of Governor’s officially ratifies the agreement we could have either a 50 game season (that would start on January 15th) or a 48 game season (that would start on January 19th). Training camp would start sometime this week.
After 113 painful days to be a hockey fan, today is – FINALLY – a good day to be a hockey fan!