The NHL lockout has reportedly ended after countless meetings and deliberations. The league and the players' association have reached "a tentative deal on a new 10-year collective bargaining agreement," according to NHL.com's Shawn P. Roarke.
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said the following to reporters early Sunday (via NHL.com):
"We have to dot a lot of I's and cross a lot of T's. There is still a lot of work to be done, but the basic framework has been agreed upon."
Although there are a plethora of elements involved with the new CBA, the most important one for fans is that it would be a 10-year deal with an opt-out clause that would take effect after eight years. The bottom line: There shouldn't be another lockout anytime soon.
With that news, hockey-deprived fans across North America took to Twitter to express their joy, frustration and everything in between.
Yahoo! Sports NHL writer Nick Cotsonika reported that there's some work left to do, but that fans should anticipate hockey sometime this January:
A lot of loose ends to tie up and details to learn, but it's over. There will be an NHL season. The puck will drop in January.— Nick Cotsonika (@cotsonika) January 6, 2013
Chris Johnston, a hockey writer for the Canadian Press, tweeted about the lengthy meeting between both sides over the weekend. It can best be compared to the NBA's lockout-ending session in November 2011:
This is a milestone night in NHL talks ... longest and latest a negotiating session has run.— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) January 6, 2013
ESPN reporter Rachel Nichols asks a question we already know the answer to:
Hockey, anyone? NHL & Players reach tentative agreement. 10-year deal. Let's get it signed and go, boys. bit.ly/Xb6xW3— Rachel Nichols (@Rachel__Nichols) January 6, 2013
Shockingly, in the middle of Wild Card Weekend, former NFL quarterback and current NFL analyst Boomer Esiason was tweeting about the reported return of hockey:
Like Nichols, many sports fans, including Matty Pittman, are full of excitement with football seasons coming to a dramatic close and hockey reportedly just beginning:
Beautiful timing NHL. The lockout is over just as football is ending.— Matty Pittman (@PittmanKid) January 6, 2013
Other hockey lovers, like Jay on Twitter, were just plain thrilled:
I'm going to scream and squeal like a little girl who just got a pony for her birthday if the NHL lockout ends tonight.— Jay (@echoVista) January 6, 2013
But not everyone is impressed by the news. CBS Sports' Dennis Dodd pointed out the lack of significant changes to the reported deal in his view:
This NHL agreement looks like one that could have been reached 3 months ago.— Dennis Dodd (@dennisdoddcbs) January 6, 2013
Even hockey writer Adam Proteau was a bit skeptical of the reported agreement between the players and owners:
I won't believe the NHL lockout is over until the ink is dry on a ratified CBA. I'll still be skeptical even then, because disappearing ink.— Adam Proteau (@Proteautype) January 5, 2013
With people often forgetting that the owners, players and fans aren't the only ones hurt by a work stoppage, Elliotte Friedman points out the overlooked victims of the NHL lockout:
As NHL returns, I'm happiest for those who suffered financial loss. Look forward to many good people getting full salaries again.— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) January 6, 2013
Twitter's explosion was capped off superbly by Nick Cotsonika:
Deal is done: For NHL owners and players, it's time to shut up and play - Yahoo! Sports sports.yahoo.com/news/nhl--for-…— Nick Cotsonika (@cotsonika) January 6, 2013
After several months and too many missed games, the NHL is reportedly set to make its long-awaited return. Although reactions have varied across the board, there seems to be one prevailing emotion: excitement.
The owners can breathe a sigh of relief and fade away, while the players can suit up in preparation for what's sure to be a wild, shortened 2013 season.
Regardless of how many games the NHL brings us, though, hockey is back.
Follow Bleacher Report Featured Columnist Patrick Clarke on Twitter.