NHL lockout over: Union, league reach preliminary deal

NHL and Union Reach Preliminary Deal To End Lockout

NHL and Union Reach Preliminary Deal To End Lockout

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Jan. 6 2013 11:59 AM

NHL and Union Reach Preliminary 10-Year Deal To End Lockout

A Pittsburgh Penguins fan expresses himself during a baseball game last year

Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

After 113 days and a 16-hour marathon negotiating session it looks like the lockout is almost over and hockey will soon be coming back. Early Sunday morning, the NHL and its players’ union announced they had reached a deal on a new 10-year collective bargaining agreement. Details of the agreement weren’t released because players and owners needed to be told first. But NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman had earlier said an agreement had to be reached before Jan. 11 in order to start a 48-game season on Jan. 19, reports Bloomberg.

The lockout began in mid-September amid disagreement on how to divide the NHL’s $3.3 billion in revenue, reports Reuters. And while the union publicly credited some players for playing a “crucial role in the final stages” of negotiations, federal mediator Scot Beckenbaugh will likely get credit for ending the lockout, points out USA Today. It was Beckenbauh who apparently managed to bring the two sides together after tensions reached new heights earlier this week. Now the NHL just has to hope fans will come back enthusiastically for a shortened season. “This much we know,” writes ESPN’s Scott Burnside, “It's going to take a lot more than a couple of lame words of contrition painted on NHL rinks to get fans to forget this titanic display of greed and stubbornness.”

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the Today’s Papers column from 2006 to 2009. Follow him on Twitter.