The National Hockey League player lockout that canceled the past North American ice hockey season came to an end Friday when the owners of the league's 30 teams unanimously approved a labor deal that clears the way for play to resume in the fall.
"Today our board of governors gave its unanimous approval to a collective bargaining agreement that signals a new era for our league," commissioner Gary Bettman said at a news conference. "An era of economic stability for our franchises, an era of heightened competitive balance for our players, an era of unparalleled excitement and entertainment for our fans."
It also begins the era of the salary cap -- the very thing the union refused to consider and instigated the owners into their tactic of locking the players out. But a majority of players supported the six-year agreement in balloting Thursday, with 464 of 532 (87 percent) voting in favor.
"Let's drop the puck on a fresh start and a wonderful future for the National Hockey League," Bettman said.
No payroll will exceed US$39 millionor go under US$21.5 million next season -- including salaries, signing bonuses and performance bonuses.
"Our foundation for the future now is in place," Bettman said. "It is the mandate of this new partnership, achieved at enormous cost, to reconnect with our fans and refocus the spotlight where it belongs -- on the ice."
Under the new deal, players are guaranteed to receive 54 percent of league-wide revenues -- projected to be between US$1.7 billion and US$1.8 billion next season. A portion of every player's salary will be held in escrow if it is determined that revenues are smaller, resulting in players receiving more than 54 percent.
And they will be playing under vastly different rules.
The biggest shakeup for ice hockey purists will be the institution of a shootout, to ensure that every regular-season game will have a winner.
Goalies will have to stop those shots and all others with smaller pads, which will be shrunk by about 11 percent. The width of the pads will be reduced to 28cm and the glove, upper-body protector, pants and jersey will also be smaller.
Not only is their equipment shrinking, so is the area in which goalies can go to play the puck. Goaltenders can only go behind the goal line in a trapezoid-shaped area.
The neutral-zone edges of the blue lines will be 19.5m from the attacking goal and 23m from the end boards in the offensive zone. That adds 1.2m in each zone, with the thought it will increase scoring -- especially during power plays.
How the rules work will be monitored by a competition committee made up of four players, four general managers and one owner.
The adoption of the collective bargaining agreement by the club owners will return to league to a sense of normalcy, starting with the annual player draft.
The Pittsburgh Penguins won a 30-team draft lottery on Friday, and will have the chance to select highly touted Canadian prospect Sidney Crosby.
Still widely unknown outside Canada, the 17-year-old Crosby helped lead his country to the World Under-20 Championship in January and the Penguins already have said they will select him with their first pick on July 30 in Ottawa.
The Pittsburgh Penguins won an unprecedented National Hockey League draft lottery on Friday, beating out the remaining 29 teams for the top selection and the chance to sign 17-year-old Canadian juniors prospect Sidney Crosby.
Crosby almost certainly will be chosen first on July 30 when the NHL conducts its annual draft.
Pittsburgh joined Columbus, Buffalo and the New York Rangers with three balls in the 48-ball bin. The lottery was weighted to give teams that struggled in recent years a better chance.
The Penguins used that and the four-leaf clover general manager Craig Patrick carried in his palm to their advantage, edging Anaheim for No. 1.
Pittsburgh already has said it will take Crosby.
"I think he's a fantastic fit," Patrick said. "To be able to add someone of Sidney's talent, my mind goes round and round with possibilities."
Crosby has 120 goals and 183 assists in 121 games.
Now he'll get a chance to play with Mario Lemieux, who plays for and owns the Penguins.
"We trained together and skated together," Crosby said. "He's been great just to be around him. To see the way he handled himself, I learned a lot."
‘CRIMINAL ACT’: The UCI said it ‘strongly condemns’ Dylan Groenewegen’s ‘dangerous behavior,’ which left Jakobsen in critical condition and injured other cyclists Dutch cyclist Fabio Jakobsen was in a coma on Wednesday, in “serious” condition, after he was thrown into and over a barrier at 80kph in the conclusion to the opening stage of the Tour de Pologne. Footage showed 23-year-old Jakobsen, of the Deceuninck-Quick-Step, racing elbow-to-elbow with fellow Dutchman Dylan Groenewegen of Jumbo-Visma as both men frantically tussled in a tight sprint to the line in Katowice. However, Jakobsen came off worst, somersaulting over the barriers before colliding with a photographer after Groenewegen had veered suddenly to the right, squeezing his rival into the security wall. “His condition is very serious. His life is
Taiwan Steel on Sunday grabbed three points with a narrow 1-0 win against Hang Yuan FC, to move into the No. 2 spot on the Taiwan Football Premier League (TFPL) log, while Taipower FC beat NTUS 2-0 to maintain first place. Taking advantage early in the match of opposition defenders who had not yet settled down, Taiwan Steel’s attacking trio of Wu Chun-ching, Marc Fenelus from the Turks and Caicos Islands, and Benchy Astama from Haiti pushed forward with good passes. After only one minute of play, Fenelus dribbled from the right flank, feeding a short pass inside the penalty area to
LEAVING IT LATE: Rakuten added late runs last night to add to wins on Wednesday against the Brothers and the Lions on Friday that went down to the last batter The Rakuten Monkeys rallied to post three late runs for another close win, prevailing 5-3 over the Uni-President Lions yesterday as Taiwan’s second-half CPBL season got started with lower scoring output, but exciting finishes. It was Rakuten’s third win in a row. In two games this week, they seized victory in dramatic fashion with their last at-bat and have drawn level with the CTBC Brothers on top of the table after yesterday’s results, 0.5 games in front of the Fubon Guardians and 1.5 games ahead of the Lions. It was tied at 1-1 early, with Rakuten hosting the Lions at the Taoyuan Intenational
STAYING COOL: Hamilton said that his ‘heart nearly stopped’ when he noticed the puncture, but he kept going to beat Alain Prost’s total of six home wins in France Lewis Hamilton said he feared he might not make it home when a last lap puncture almost derailed his charge to a record seventh British Grand Prix victory on Sunday. “I didn’t think I would make it round the last two corners,” the world champion said. The front left tire of his Mercedes had delaminated and deflated on his final lap, leaving the six-time world champion to nurse his vehicle to the finish as second-placed Max Verstappen hunted him down. “I just can’t believe it,” Hamilton said. “It was heart-stopping. I backed off and stayed chilled and was so glad it happened on