National Hockey League commissioner Gary Bettman listens to lawyer Robert J. Cleary present his findings regarding Rick Tocchet during a press conference Thursday, Nov. 1, 2007 in New York. Bettman announced that he will reinstate Tocchet effective Feb. 7, 2008. Tocchet had been on a leave of absence from the league since February 2006, when he was accused of running a U-S sports gambling ring. (AP Photo/Stephen Chernin)
NEW YORK (AP) -- The NHL's four-month lockout finally ended Saturday night following another tough negotiation that nearly delayed training camps even longer.
The league and the players' association completed a required memorandum of understanding that had to be signed before camps were cleared to open. That will happen on Sunday with a 48-game regular season to begin on Jan. 19.
The NHL also was set to release the long-awaited schedule, minus the 510 games that were lost to the lockout.
It took all week and much longer than expected on Saturday for the memorandum to be completed. The announcement that it was finished came several hours after the union easily ratified the tentative deal reached last Sunday.
The more than 700 union members had a 36-hour window from Thursday night until Saturday morning to vote electronically. The NHL board of governors unanimously approved the deal on Wednesday.