Friday, July 22, 2005
Coolest game back
The new CBA is a six-year deal with a NHLPA option to re-open the agreement after Year 4 of the deal.
NEW YORK (CP) -- The NHL board of governors unanimously approved the new labour deal Friday, officially signalling the end of the lockout.
"It's over. Let's drop the puck on a fresh start and a wonderful future for the National Hockey League," said commissioner Gary Bettman.The league vote, conducted at 1:17 p.m. ET, was 30-0. Bettman called it a "seminal moment" in the league's history.The season will open Oct. 5 with all 30 clubs in action. It will mark the league's first on-ice action since Tampa Bay Lightning captain Dave Andreychuk lifted the Stanley Cup over his head on June 7, 2004."Let me be the first to welcome you to our 2005-06 season," Bettman said at a New York hotel. His news conference was an appetizer for the main course: the league's draft lottery, with junior star Sidney Crosby the big prize.And throughout, Bettman pledged to win back the fans."The best thing that I can say to our fans is we're back, we're going to be better than ever and we're going to make it up to you," he said."We will do everything, everything, to be the best we can be and to earn your continued devotion," he added. "We know this was a terrible time for everyone associated with the game."Fans will see a new game. There will be no more ties, with a shootout deciding games. Officials will crack down on obstruction. Two-line passes will be allowed to open up the game. Goalie equipment will be smaller and there will be no-touch icing.Each team will play eight games against each of its four division rivals and four games against each of the 10 non-division clubs in its conference.Each club will also play 10 interconference games. For the 2005-06 season, Northeast Division teams will host the Pacific Division and visit the Northwest, Atlantic Division clubs will host the Northwest and visit the Central; and Southeast Division teams will host the Central and visit the Pacific. Such assignments will rotate annually.The players gave the new labour deal their approval Thursday, although many voted holding their nose. Some 87 per cent of players who cast ballots did so in favour of the agreement. Out of 532 votes cast, 464 players voted in favour and 68 voted against.Friday's league vote officially ends the lockout, which wiped out an entire season -- 1,230 games plus the playoffs -- and kept the Stanley Cup in mothballs.Now the league must sell the game, no easy task in some quarters in the wake of the labour unrest.Crosby will help. But the magnitude of the task that awaits the league was shown by the fact that U.S. fans had to rely on regional cable to watch the draft lottery.ESPN, which earlier decided not to pick up a $60-million US option to show games next season, also opted to skip the lottery.Also Friday, Bettman promoted his right-hand man Bill Daly, previously vice-president and chief legal officer, to deputy commissioner. And the league showed off its new logo, a black and silver shield.The commissioner said the draft will be held a week from Saturday in Ottawa.Bettman confirmed that NHL players will go to Turin next year to play in the Olympics and to Vancouver for the 2010 Games. He said in Olympic years, the league will dispense with the all-star game to help tighten the schedule.
-referenced from www.sportsnet.ca