Drop the puck: NHL, players end lockout

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Drop the puck: NHL, players end lockout

NEW YORK - They walked into a Manhattan hotel, knowing they were running out of time to save their season.

After 16 hours of tense talks, the NHL and its players finally achieved their elusive deal early Sunday morning, finding a way to restart a sport desperate to regain momentum and boost its prominence.

Ending a bitter dispute that wiped out a large part of the hockey season for the third time in less than two decades, the league and its union agreed to the framework of a 10-year labor contract that will allow a delayed schedule to start later this month.

On the 113th day of a management lockout and five days before the league’s deadline for a deal, the bleary-eyed sides held a 6 a.m. news conference to announce there will be a season, after all.

The stoppage led to the cancelation of at least 480 games - the exact length of the curtailed schedule hasn’t been determined - bringing the total of lost regular-season games to a minimum 2,178 during three lockouts under Bettman.

The agreement, which replaces the deal that expired Sept. 15, must be ratified by the 30 team owners and approximately 740 players.

AP
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