NHL, officials union reach tentative agreement on new four-year deal

TORONTO – The NHL and the officials’ union have reached a tentative deal on a new collective bargaining agreement just days before the opening of the regular season.

The deal struck Monday is a four-year agreement and is subject to ratification by members of the NHL Officials’ Association and the league’s board of governors. Both sides declined comment until the contract is ratified.

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Referees and linesmen worked the entire NHL pre-season schedule without a contract.

The regular season begins Thursday with a five-game slate, including a match in Finland between the Carolina Hurricanes and Minnesota Wild. Games will also be held in Sweden and the Czech Republic this week along with those played in North America.