New York, NY (Sports Network) - The National Hockey League and the Players' Association reached an agreement on the framework of a new collective bargaining agreement to end the lockout that has been in place since mid- September.
The breakthrough came after a 16-hour marathon negotiating session that lasted all day Saturday and into Sunday morning at the Sofitel Hotel. The NHL announced the agreement in principle shortly after 5 a.m. ET Sunday.
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and union head Donald Fehr stood together announcing they had the framework of a new contract.
"I want to thank Don Fehr. We still have more work to do, but it's good to be at this point," Bettman said. "We've got to dot a lot of I's and cross a lot of T's. There's still a lot of work to be done, but the basic framework of the deal has been agreed upon."
The league said the new labor package, which will reportedly be for 10 years, must be "drafted and formerly approved by both parties" before it can be finalized.
The NHL and its Players' Association had met separately with a federal mediator throughout the day Friday and into the evening. On Saturday afternoon, the two sides met face-to-face with federal mediator Scot L. Beckenbaugh as they worked toward a new labor deal.
Bettman has said a regular-season schedule of at least 48 games must begin by Jan. 19. The existing 2012-13 NHL schedule has already been canceled through Jan. 14.
The two sides have been without a CBA since the previous one expired just before midnight on Sept. 15.
Depending on ratification of the new CBA, training camps could open in the middle of the coming week.
TSN of Canada reports the 10-year deal also has an opt-out clause that kicks in after eight years.