The National Hockey League's Board of Governors unanimously approved the proposed new collective bargaining agreement with the NHL Players' Association on Wednesday.
A simple majority of sixteen owners was required to approve the agreement, which now goes to the NHLPA for approval. The players are expected to vote electronically on Friday and Saturday, with training camps set to open on Sunday.
In a post-vote press conference, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman appealed to those put out by the league's lockout of the players.
"To our players, our partners and our fans... I am sorry. I read the letters. I followed the tweets. I read the blogs. We have a lot of work to do to gain back your support."
As it did in the lockout-shortened 1995 season, the league will play a 48-game schedule beginning on January 19. That schedule will be announced after the players ratify the new deal.
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