NHL ratifies new CBA

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. … The National Hockey League announced today that its Board of Governors has ratified the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiated with the NHL Players’ Association, ending a 310-day work stoppage, signaling a new era of cooperation and partnership, and ensuring the NHL will resume play for the 2005-06 season.

American Hockey League President and CEO David Andrews has issued the following statement regarding today’s announcement:

“The American Hockey League joins the rest of the hockey world in celebrating the NHL’s return to play in October. While the AHL enjoyed a record-breaking season in 2004-05, the return of the NHL will restore and grow fan interest in our great sport, and hockey at all levels will benefit as a result. The NHL is the pinnacle of professional hockey competition, and is the driving force behind the outstanding player supply that we enjoy in the AHL. We could not be happier to see the NHL return to active play.

“We will be examining the new NHL rules package closely, with a view to mirroring it at the AHL level to be certain that players can move easily between our leagues. We’re proud that we’ve been able to contribute to the development of these improvements to our game.”

The American Hockey League’s Board of Governors will convene via conference call in early August to review and respond to any and all implications which the new NHL CBA might have on the league.

In operation since 1936, the AHL continues to serve as the top development league for all 30 National Hockey League teams. More than 80 percent of NHL players in 2003-04 were AHL graduates, and in 2004-05, more than 7.1 million fans – an all-time league record – attended AHL games across North America.