NHL owners, players move closer to votes

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 9, 2013 at 2:18 am •  Published: January 9, 2013
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NEW YORK (AP) — All that is left of the NHL lockout are a pair of votes by owners and players.

If both sides approve the tentative deal reached over the weekend — as expected — training camps will be open by Sunday.

The league's board of governors will meet on Wednesday in New York, and the 30 club owners will vote on the agreement that was reached in the early morning hours of Sunday after a 16-hour negotiating session.

If a majority approves, the NHL will move one step closer toward the official end of the lockout that began Sept. 16.

The league and the players' association were still working on one more key piece of business on Tuesday night that must be settled before hockey is truly back.

"We are trying to finalize a summary document, and we are very close on that," NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly told The Associated Press in an email. "That will be turned into a (memorandum of understanding) with more detailed language that won't be signed until this coming weekend."

The union was waiting for that initial document before it scheduled a vote for its more than 700 members. A majority of players also must approve the deal before the lockout can end.

If there are no snags, ratification could be finished by Saturday and training camps could open Sunday. A 48-game regular season would then be expected to begin on Jan. 19.

"(We) don't need a signed document to complete ratification process," Daly wrote, "but we do need a signed agreement to open camps. The goal is to get that done by Saturday so that we can open camps on Sunday."

The NHL has yet to release a new schedule. The regular season was supposed to begin on Oct. 11.

The deal was reached Sunday, the 113th day of the lockout, and seemingly saved a season that was delayed for three months and cut nearly in half. It took a marathon final bargaining session in a New York hotel for the agreement to finally be completed at about 5 a.m.

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