NHL lockout ends

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Thursday, July 14, 2005

The National Hockey League and its players union, the NHL Players Association, came to a long sought-after agreement Wednesday over a new NHL Collective Bargaining Agreement, ending a bitter and damaging 301-day lockout of the players. The agreement came after a all-night negotiation session with the union. However, the deal must still be ratified by owners and players. A vote for ratification will be held on Thursday, July 21, 2005.

The deal includes a salary cap for players. The combined salary of all players in the league cannot exceed 54% of league-wide revenue. Players who are still under contract will have a 24% rollback.

Also in the proposed deal are some rule changes. Smaller goaltending equipment, making two-line passes across the neutral zone (fom blue-line to blue-line) legal, and shootouts at the end of an overtime period in the case of tie games are all rules that will probably be enacted when the new season begins.

The lockout was very damaging to the NHL. The league became the first United States sport organization to cancel an entire season. It is the second time the Stanley Cup has not been awarded: the first time was in 1919 during an influenza outbreak.