PHILADELPHIA (CBS/AP) – Hockey is back, and it took nearly four months and one long night to get the game back on the ice.
With the season on the line, the NHL and the players’ association agreed on a tentative pact to end a 113-day lockout and save what was left of a fractured schedule.
Commissioner Gary Bettman and union executive director Donald Fehr ceased being adversaries and announced the deal while standing side by side near a wall toward the back of the negotiating room and showing a tinge of weariness.
“I want to thank Don Fehr,” Bettman said. “We went through a tough period, but it’s good to be at this point.”
Comcast-Spectacor president, Peter Luukko, released the following statement on news of the agreement:
“We were informed earlier this morning that the National Hockey League and the National Hockey League Players’ Association have reached an agreement. As details concerning the schedule become available to us, we will release further information concerning the resumption of play. Our organization is very excited for our players, our coaches and, most particularly, our fans and we look forward to playing hockey again shortly. The Philadelphia Flyers are extremely grateful to our loyal and dedicated fans who have shown tremendous patience and support during this process. We will refrain from making any additional comments at this time.”
The marathon negotiating session that lasted more than 16 hours, stretching from Saturday afternoon until just before dawn Sunday, produced a 10-year deal.
“We’ve got to dot a lot of Is and cross a lot of Ts,” Bettman said. “There’s still a lot of work to be done, but the basic details of the agreement have been agreed upon.”
According to KYW’s Suzanne Monaghan, ice hockey fans at Skate Zone in Voorhees, Camden County had a mixed reaction to the possible end of the lockout.
Fan #1: “Every week Flyers games…every week together.”
Fan #2: “Tired of watching all the re-runs on TV and I can’t wait for the Flyers to start playing again and get excited again.”
But the teams getting back on the ice leaves this fan cold.
“You did this before and you do this again. I’m like guys I’m one of your hard fans. I’m over it. I don’t have time for this. I gotta go to work every day. You guys are making so much ***** money. Give me a break.”
But other fans say despite their frustration their loyalty to the game will prevail.
(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)