Wed January 9, 2013
Sabres getting ready for hockey to start
NHL owners will gather in New York City today to vote on the new collective bargaining agreement tentatively agreed to with the players' union last weekend.
The 10-year labor agreement requires a majority vote from both the owners and players. If the deal is ratified by both sides in the coming days, training camps could open this weekend, with hopes of opening the season on Saturday, January 19th.
The first Buffalo Sabres home game could be the following day.
Sabres General Manager Darcy Regier says the expected 48-game season will be a grind.
"I think we're essentially going to be playing every other day. So you've got a one-week training camp, no exhibition games," Regier said Tuesday in a media news conference.
Team President Ted Black says the long-term deal will provide stability for the league for the foreseeable future. He says he appreciates the patience exhibited by fans frustrated by losing nearly half a season.
"Certainly the fans are entitled to an apology from everyone involved in this. On behalf of the Pegulas and the Sabres, we do apologize," Black said.
The 113-day lockout wiped out from than 600 games across the league. It's had a severe impact on the workers and businesses that rely on NHL hockey, a point not lost on GM Regier.
"Whether it's the local pubs, whether it's people that do the difficult work of cleaning or whatever it is, if this allows them to get back to work and make a living and help themselves and their families, I think that's a big deal," Regier said.
Now that the return of hockey appears to be on the horizon, Black says the mission set by Sabres owner Terry Pegula when he bought the team can continue.
"Now the pieces are in place that we're going to fulfill what Terry promised that we're going to do, and that's win the Stanley Cup."