NHL players vote to ratify new collective bargaining agreement
The Canadiens haven't worn the red, white and blue since April 7, 2012 when they saluted the crowd after their final regular season game last season (CP file photo).
The Canadian Press
Published Saturday, January 12, 2013 5:39PM EST
Last Updated Saturday, January 12, 2013 5:51PM EST
TORONTO -- It's the news hockey fans have been waiting to hear.
NHL players have voted in favour of ratifying the collective bargaining agreement that was reached last weekend.
A union statement made it clear that a written memorandum of understanding consistent with what the players voted on must be completed before the CBA becomes final.
The NHLPA and the NHL continue their work to finalize the memorandum.
When completed, it will clear the way for training camps to open Sunday and a 48-game regular season to begin next Saturday.
The 36-hour electronic voting process for the 700-plus players ended this morning.
A tentative agreement was reached last Sunday on the 113th day of the lockout.
The two sides finally got a deal completed after a 16-hour negotiating session in New York and assistance from federal mediator Scot L. Beckenbaugh.
NHL team owners ratified the deal Wednesday.
The new deal is for 10 years, but either side can opt out after eight.
The previous collective bargaining agreement was in effect for seven seasons.
The lockout began in mid-September and forced the cancellation of 510 games, including the Winter Classic and all-star game.
The NHL has said it will release a new schedule once the ratification process is completed.
No pre-season games will be played.
Many NHL players have taken part in informal skates at practice rinks over the last week to prepare for the shortened camp and season.