NEW YORK, N.Y. - NHL owners have begun descending on midtown Manhattan to vote on a new collective bargaining agreement with the players.
A simple majority of owners — 16 of 30 — need to vote in favour of ratification when balloting takes place this afternoon.
The league and NHL Players' Association reached a tentative deal to end the 113-day lockout early Sunday morning after a 16-hour bargaining session.
The players aren't expected to start their own ratification vote until Thursday. It will be conducted electronically over two days and needs majority support from the roughly 740 union members to pass.
If all goes to plan, the process would be completed by Saturday and training camps would open around the league on Sunday.
The NHL is targeting a 48-game season beginning Jan. 19, which leaves no time for teams to squeeze in any exhibition games. The schedule is expected to be released in the coming days.
A 48-game season was played following the 1994-95 NHL lockout and that allowed for a balanced intraconference schedule in what was then a 26-team league.
It's going to be a little more complicated this time around.
The league is planning to have teams play three games against the 10 opponents within the same conference but outside their division. They will then have an unbalanced schedule against division rivals, with five games coming against two teams and four against the two others, according to a source.
The CBA process will continue behind the scenes even after the season gets underway. The league and NHLPA have agreed to meet over 10 consecutive days in February to finish off a document that will total several hundred pages once it is finished.