(Frank Franklin II/Associated Press)


The NHL’s Board of Governors voted unanimously to ratify the new collective bargaining agreement in New York Wednesday. All that remains to complete the process is for the NHLPA membership to vote on the deal.

“To our fans all around the globe, hockey is back,” said Jeremy Jacobs, owner of the Boston Bruins and chairman of the Board of Governors, told reporters in New York. “This great game has been gone far too long. For that, we are truly sorry.”

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman apologized to fans and sponsors when he took the podium.

“To our players, our partners and our fans – I am sorry,” Bettman said. “I read the letters. I followed the tweets. I read the blogs. We have a lot of work to do to gain back your support.”

The players’ voting process is scheduled to begin Friday and won’t conclude until Saturday. Bettman said the league will not release the new schedule until formal ratification is completed by both sides.

Training camps are expected to start Sunday, with the league targeting Saturday Jan. 19 as the first day of the shortened 48-game season.