The NHL lockout is over at last, but as a result of it, the season has been pushed back by over three months. Fans in Los Angeles have been waiting anxiously for the lockout to die, so that their hockey team can finally raise its first ever Stanley Cup championship banner. That time has finally arrived. The Kings are set to open the season on Jan. 19 in an afternoon game against the Chicago Blackhawks, reports Helene Elliott of the Los Angeles Times. Prior to the game, the team will hold a much anticipated Stanley Cup championship banner raising ceremony, and players will also receive their championship rings, after winning the franchise its first ever Stanley Cup title last June.
The full 48-game schedule has not yet been released, but the league will probably do so this weekend. Commissioner Gary Bettman said the 2013 schedule would be released as soon as the players officially ratify the new deal, which is expected to happen Saturday, according to Elliott. Teams are likely to play games only within their own conference during a lockout-shortened season.
Although a new collective bargaining agreement was reached verbally by owners and players, the lockout will not officially end until both sides ratify the new deal. The NHL's Board of Governors voted unanimously to approve the new CBA on Wednesday. The players will be voting electronically on Friday and Saturday, and are also expected to approve the new deal.
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