NEW YORK, NY (Sports Network) - The National Hockey League and the Players' Association reached an agreement on the framework of a new collective bargaining agreement to end the lockout that has been in place since mid- September.
The breakthrough came after a 16-hour marathon negotiating session that lasted all day Saturday and into Sunday morning at the Sofitel Hotel. The NHL announced the agreement in principle shortly after 5 a.m. ET Sunday.
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and union head Donald Fehr stood together announcing they had the framework of a new contract.
"I want to thank Don Fehr. We still have more work to do, but it's good to be at this point," Bettman said. "We've got to dot a lot of I's and cross a lot of T's. There's still a lot of work to be done, but the basic framework of the deal has been agreed upon."
The league said the new labor package, which will reportedly be for 10 years, must be "drafted and formerly approved by both parties" before it can be finalized.
The NHL and its Players' Association had met separately with a federal mediator throughout the day Friday and into the evening. On Saturday afternoon, the two sides met face-to-face with federal mediator Scot L. Beckenbaugh as they worked toward a new labor deal.
Bettman has said a regular-season schedule of at least 48 games must begin by Jan. 19. The existing 2012-13 NHL schedule has already been canceled through Jan. 14.
The two sides have been without a CBA since the previous one expired just before midnight on Sept. 15.
Depending on ratification of the new CBA, training camps could open in the middle of the coming week.
TSN of Canada reports the 10-year deal also has an opt-out clause that kicks in after eight years.
As part of the deal:
1) Players will receive $300 million in transition payments over three years to account for existing contracts, pushing their revenue share over 50 percent at the start of the deal.
2) Players gained a defined benefit pension plan for the first time.
3) The salary cap for this season will be $70.2 million before prorating to adjust for the shortened season, and the cap will drop to $64.3 million in 2013-14 - the same amount as 2011-12. There will be a salary floor of $44 million in those years.
4) Free agents will be limited to contracts of seven years (eight for those re-signed with their former club).
5) Salaries within a contract may not vary by more than 35 percent year to year, and the lowest year must be at least 50 percent of the highest year.
6) There were no changes to eligibility for free agency and salary arbitration.
7) The threshold for teams to release players in salary arbitration will increase from $1.75 million to $3 million.
8) Each team may use two buyouts to terminate contracts before the 2013-14 or 2014-15 seasons for two-thirds of the remaining guaranteed income. The buyout will be included in the players' revenue share but not the salary cap.
9) The minimum salary will remain at $525,000 this season and will rise to $750,000 by 2021-12.
10) Either side may terminate the deal after the 2019-20 season.
11) Revenue sharing will increase to $200 million annually and rise with revenue.
12) An industry growth fund of $60 million will be funded by the sides over three years and replenished as need.
13) Participation of NHL and its players in the 2014 Sochi Olympics will be determined later in discussions also involving the International Olympic Committee and the International Ice Hockey Federation.