NHL owners approve new deal as end to four-month lockout nears
Last Updated: 11/01/13 10:57pm
Gary Bettman: Apology to NHL fans
The NHL board of governors has approved the new collective bargaining agreement that was provisionally agreed on Sunday.
The owners of all 30 teams in the league voted unanimously to ratify the proposed 10-year deal that was proposed after 16 hours of talks at the weekend.
An end to the four-month lockout is now subject to the new CBA being approved by the NHL Players' Association, who are expected to cast their votes on Friday and Saturday.
If the deal is cleared by the players, a truncated 48-game regular season is tentatively scheduled to get underway on 19 January.
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman has also issued an apology to NHL fans frustrated by the 113-day lockout, and he admitted winning back their trust will take time.
"To the players, who were very clear they wanted to be on the ice and not negotiating labor contracts, to our partners who support the league financially and most importantly to our fans that love and have missed NHL hockey, I am sorry," Bettman said.
"I know an explanation or an apology will not erase the hard feelings that have built up of past few months but I owe you an apology nonetheless. We have a lot of work to do.
"The National Hockey League has a responsibility to earn back your trust and support whether you watch one game or every game and that effort begins now."