The NHL and the players' association has made hockey fans' 2013: after marathon 16-hour negotiations, the lockout has been tentatively ended.
113 days too late for many, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and union executive director Donald Fehr finally made peace at the Sofitel in New York shortly after 5 a.m. on Sunday, according to CNN.
“Don Fehr and I are here to tell you that we have reached an agreement on a framework for a new collective bargaining agreement,” Bettman said, the New York Times reported. “We went through a tough period, but it’s good to be at this point.”
Fans could see games starting as early as January 15, with playoffs slated for June, according to the Times.
The 10-year deal is "an agreement in principle," with many details still in the works, though certain points have been hammered out, including a salary cap for the drop to $64.3 million from $70.2 million, and two contract buyouts per team.
“We’ve got to dot a lot of Is and cross a lot of Ts,” Bettman said, CNN reported. “There’s still a lot of work to be done, but the basic details of the agreement have been agreed upon.”
Many are giving the credit to mediator Scot L. Beckenbaugh, who shuttled in between the meetings throughout the day on Saturday in order to get some sort of deal done.
"I'd been told by family and friends, 'Lock yourselves in a room and don't come out,' " Phoenix Coyotes captain Shane Doan said early Sunday, according to AOL Sporting News. "The mediator kind of did that. He kind of kept us going, and that was huge. Both sides got involved and got it done, and that was good."
Had they not reached an agreement, this would have been the NHL's second lost season over a labor dispute, after the 2004-2005 season was lost in salary cap negotiations, the Associated Press reported. That has never happened in another North American sports league.