NHL players to begin voting Thursday

IRA PODELL AP Sports Writer Published:

NEW YORK (AP) -- NHL players will begin the process of ratifying the new labor agreement on Thursday night and will have until early Saturday morning to vote.

The players' association says that electronic voting will begin Thursday at 8 p.m. EST and will last 36 hours until Saturday at 8 a.m.

If a majority of the more than 700 players vote to accept the deal that NHL owners unanimously ratified on Wednesday, training camps will open Sunday and a 48-game regular season will begin on Jan. 19.

A tentative agreement was reached early Sunday, the 113th day of the lockout, after a 16-hour negotiating session in New York.

The latest lockout forced the cancellation of 510 games, along with the outdoor Winter Classic and the All-Star game.

The NHL says it will release a new schedule once the ratification process is completed. A memorandum of understanding must be signed before training camps open.