NHL and PA reach settlement, now the work really begins

NEW YORK – Early Snday morning the National Hockey League and the National Hockey League Players’ Association reached agreement on the framework of a new Collective Bargaining Agreement that would end the lockout and resume play in the league.
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman was the first to speak to assembled press and made the following statement.
“Good morning, everyone. Don Fehr and I are here to tell you that we have reached an agreement on the framework of a new collective bargaining agreement, the details of which need to be put to paper. We’ve got to dot a lot of I’s, cross a lot of Ts. There’s still a lot of work to be done, but the basic framework of the deal has been agreed upon.”
“We have to go through a ratification process,” Bettman continued.   “ The Board of Governors has to approve it from the League side; obviously the players have to approve it, as well. We’re not in a position right now to give you any information about schedule, when we’re starting. It’s early in the morning and we’ve been at this all day and all night, obviously. But we will be back to you very shortly, hopefully later today, with more information in that regard.”
I would be remiss if we didn’t thank Scot Beckenbaugh, the deputy director of the FMCS in the United States for his assistance in the mediation process, and I want to thank Don Fehr, because he and the Players’ Association as well as the people that work with me at the League went through a long, tough period, and we still have more work to do, but it’s good to be at this point.”
NHLPA boss Donald Fehr his own comments after Bettman.
“Just very briefly, any process like this in the system we have is difficult. It can be long. I’ve said repeatedly throughout this process that when somebody would say what do you see ahead, the answer is you get up tomorrow and you try to find a way to do it and you keep doing that until you find a way to succeed,” Fehr said.
“And as Gary as just indicated, we have the framework of a deal. We have to do the legal work. We have to do the constituent communication work. At least from my end, I’m pretty sure from Gary’s, too, we need to let them know the details before we tell all of you,” Fehr added.
But having said that, hopefully we’re at a place where all those things will proceed fairly rapidly and with some dispatch, and we’ll get back to what we used to call business as usual just as fast as we can.”
Both men wewre asked how each would work with the fans, many of whom feel spurned by both the league and union to encourage them to return to the game and ‘forgive and forget’.
“We’ll be back to you after we go through the processes we have to go through,” Bettman replied.   “We’ll be talking to the fans, most importantly, but at this point in time, we still have some work to do, and so you were here all day and all night, and we wanted to at least let you and everybody who follows the game know where we were in the process. Thanks, and we’ll see you later.”
Fehr added, “And hopefully within just a very few days, the fans can get back to watching people who are skating, not the two of us”.
The fan, whose money in part drives this entire process, should now be the object of each parties’ affections.   The fan is asked to ‘forgive and forget’ in an era where discretionary money is tight or absent.   This work stoppage has tried the patience of many in the industry and sport.   How many of those who have depended on this sport will be back?   Who will support the league, players?  
Pro Hockey News is pleased to see the owners and players come to some resolution.   We are ready to add the NHL back to our normal coverage of the sport to which we are committed.
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