The San Jose Sharks may soon be back on the ice at HP Pavilion thanks to a tentative agreement reached Sunday morning between the National Hockey League and the National Hockey League Players' Association.
The league reported a “marathon 16-plus hour negotiating session” in a New York hotel conference room that ended at about 4:40 a.m. at which both NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and NHLPA Executive Director Donald Fehr were in attendance.
An announcement on the Sharks webpage read:
"Don Fehr and I are here to tell you that 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 said. "We have to dot a lot of I's and cross a lot of T's. There is still a lot of work to be done, but the basic framework has been agreed upon. We have to go through a ratification process and the Board of Governors has to approve it from the League side and, obviously, the players have to approve it as well. We are not in a position to give you information right now about schedule, when we are starting. It's early in the morning and we have been at this all day and all night, obviously. But, we will be back to you very shortly, hopefully, later today with more information in that regard."
The lockout that began in September marked 113 days on Sunday. Bettman has reportedly said that the season would be entirely canceled if an agreement couldn’t be reached so that at least 48 games could take place, the mark set in during another lockout season in 1994-95. It’s unclear at this time if the league will be able to schedule more than 48 games and when the season would begin.
Both sides still have to ratify the agreement, but players are looking forward to getting back on the ice.
"I'm just thrilled," defenseman Dan Boyle told the San Jose Mercury News. "Obviously I want to get back on the ice. That's where we belong."
A number of sticky wickets in the Collective Bargaining Agreement had the two sides in a months-long faceoff. Among the issues were the players’ pension plan, revenue sharing and salary caps.
According to The Hockey News the players will see their revenue share drop to 50 percent from 57 percent. The salary cap will remain at last season’s level of $64.3 million and contract term limits will be set at seven years from free agents, eight if a team signs its own player.
The new CBA will run for a decade through the 2021-22 season with an opt-out option after eight years, The Hockey News reported.
The last CBA that expired Sept. 15 was a seven-year deal.