Ice Hockey - Players vote to approve new labour deal

National Hockey League players have ratified the new collective bargaining agreement, bringing them a step closer to dropping the puck on a condensed season.

Ice Hockey - Players vote to approve new labour deal

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As always, the NHL lockout is about money

A written memorandum of understanding consistent with what the players voted on must be completed before the agreement becomes final, the NHL Players' Association said in a statement. The NHLPA and NHL are working to finalize the memorandum of understanding.

If the two sides sign the memorandum of understanding on Saturday, NHL teams are expected to begin training camps on Sunday with the regular season set to start on January 19.

The players' approval came three days after the NHL's board of governors voted unanimously to ratify the 10-year labour deal.

The two sides, who had been at odds over several issues including player contracts, pensions and how to split revenue, reached a tentative agreement on a new collective bargaining agreement last week after a 16-hour negotiating session.

Approval from the players was the last key obstacle standing in the way of what is expected to be a condensed 48-game regular season, down from the usual 82 games, starting next week.

The dispute, which was the league's fourth work stoppage in 20 years and the first since a lockout wiped out the entire 2004-05 season, began in mid-September and resulted in billions of dollars in lost revenue for the NHL and players.

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