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Owners, players reach tentative deal on NHL contract

NHL lockout

From Maria P. White

(CNN) — The National Hockey League and the National Hockey League Player’s Association struck a tentative agreement early Sunday that may end a more than 100-day lockout of unionized players, the league said in a statement posted on its website.

The new agreement reached in New York still must approved by both the players and owners, the NHL said.

“After a marathon 16-plus hour negotiating session at the Sofitel Hotel that began Saturday afternoon, the sides announced an agreement in principle shortly after 5 a.m. Sunday,” the league said.

The NHL scrapped its preseason and games through the end of 2012 after the contract expired on September 15 and the two sides were unable to reach an agreement.

If the agreement is approved, the door is open to salvage the second half of the season and the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman has said any abbreviated regular season should probably have a minimum of 48 games per team.

A total of 526 games, nearly 43% of the season, were scheduled from the start of the regular season on October 11 through December 30, the NHL said.

A similar labor dispute canceled the entire 2004-05 NHL season.

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