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  NHLand Players make a deal!


From Jamie Fitzpatrick,

On the 301st day of the NHL lockout, the NHL and the players reach an agreement.

The National Hockey League and its Players' Association have announced a tentative agreement ,ending the NHL lockout.

The annoucement was posted at the the NHL and NHLPA websites:

"The National Hockey League and the National Hockey League Players' Association have reached an agreement in principle on the terms of a new Collective Bargaining Agreement. Details of the new Agreement will not be made available publicly pending the formal ratification process by NHLPA Members and the NHL Board of Governors. It is anticipated that the ratification process will be completed next week, at which time the parties will be prepared to discuss the details of the Agreement and plans for next season. No further comment will be made until then."

The longest work stoppage in the sports history ends with what is said to be the most complex collective bargaining agreement in sports history. At over 600 pages in length, the new deal completely overhauls the NHL economic system, according to widespread media reports. It includes a salary cap linked to league revenues, a comprehensive formula for calculating those revenues, and new policies governing everything from free agency to drug testing.


(All figures in US dollars)

  • A six-year agreement, with the NHL Players' Association holding an option to terminate it after the fourth year or extend it to a seventh year.
  • Salary cap set at $39 million per team for 2005-06 NHL season.
  • Salary cap will be adjusted each year to guarantee players 54 percent of total NHL revenues. The players' share will increase if revenues rise to specific benchmarks.
  • Value of all existing contracts is rolled back by 24 percent.
  • 2004-05 contract years are wiped out.
  • No player can earn more than 20 percent of his team's salary cap.
  • Age at which players qualify as unrestricted free agents will drop from 31 in the first year of the deal to 27 or seven years of NHL service as of 2008.
  • In the summer of 2005, a team can buy out a player contract for two-thirds of the contract value, without counting it against the 2005-06 salary cap. A player who is bought out cannot re-sign with the same team for one year.
  • Revenue sharing will split an unspecified pool of money from the 10 highest-grossing teams among the bottom 15.
  • A tighter rookie salary cap sees entry-level players restricted to a maximum of $850,000 per year, with strict limits on bonuses.
  • There is a drug testing protocol, with suspensions for offenders.
  • NHL players will participate in the 2006 and 2010 Winter Olympics.