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National Hockey League

Hockey's back! NHL lockout officially over

New York, NY (Sports Network) - The National Hockey League opened for business Saturday night when the lockout officially came to an end.

The NHL and the players' association signed a memorandum of understanding to end the work stoppage, meaning training camps can open Sunday. Teams also released their 48-game schedules.

The shortened season will start Jan. 19 with 26 of the league's 30 teams on the schedule the first night. The season will conclude with 13 contests on Saturday, April 27 and the Stanley Cup playoffs will start three days later.

Under the truncated schedule, each team will play 18 of its games against division foes.

The Los Angeles Kings open their defense of their Stanley Cup title Jan. 19 in an afternoon contest at home against the Chicago Blackhawks in a game televised by NBC.

According to the league, teams will play three games against each of the 10 remaining non-divisional opponents from within the conference, playing half those clubs in a two-home, one-away series and the other half in a two-away, one-home set.

The New Jersey Devils will start defense of their Eastern Conference championship on the road against the Islanders, also on Jan. 19.

In another NBC game Saturday, a playoff rematch is on tap as the Philadelphia Flyers host the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Earlier Saturday, the players' association announced it had overwhelmingly approved a new collective bargaining agreement.

Owners unanimously approved the tentative new CBA on Wednesday and the union conducted its voting from 8 p.m. ET Thursday through 8 a.m. ET Saturday. Reportedly, 98 percent of players signed the measure.

The new accord will last for 10 years, with an opt-out clause after eight.

Under the new agreement, the longest in league history, hockey related revenues (HRR) will be shared equally between owners and players. Players' contracts will be limited to seven years, but eight if teams re-sign their own players. There will be a defined benefit pension plan for the players and enhanced revenue sharing among the teams.

Also, the new CBA changes the prohibited substances players can be tested for to include additional illegal substances, such as stimulants and amphetamines. There also could be a committee created to study the issue of human growth hormone (HGH) blood testing and whether that testing should begin in the NHL.

The two sides had been without a CBA since the previous one expired just before midnight on Sept. 15. A tentative deal was reached last Sunday morning.

01/12 23:16:36 ET

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