The NHLs board of governors had their say. Now its left to the players.
The leagues board of governors voted unanimously on Wednesday to ratify the new collective bargaining agreement, the framework of which was reached after a marathon negotiation session Saturday nightSunday morning. Boston Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs announced the unanimous vote at a press conference in New York before commissioner Gary Bettman spoke to the media.
Bettman then issued a personal statement.
To the players who were very clear they wanted to be on the ice and not negotiating, to our partners who support the league financially and most important to fans who have loved and missed hockey, I am sorry, he said. I know an explanation or apology wont erase hard feelings, but I owe you one nonetheless.
No words of apology or explanation will help ease the disappointment, Bettman continued. We have a lot of work to do to win back your trust and support. That effort begins today.
When asked what specifically would be done to win back fans trust, etc., Bettman wouldnt specify.
Thats in the process of being worked on and will be announced at appropriate time, he said. There are outreaches, campaigns and efforts that will be made clear.
It truly was a long, frustrating road to get to this point, to get any semblance of a season whatsoever. Apologies have abounded from Bettman to owners to individual players who know damage has been done to the game or at least to this leagues brand of it.
As far as realignment and NHL players possibly playing in the next Olympics, Bettman said, well get to that. Both are important to players and the league and clubs. We know we need to get to that.
Now it goes to the NHLPA, which reportedly will have voting Friday and Saturday on ratification. Bettman said NHL schedules will be released once the CBA is ratified by both sides.