But players and owners aren't the only ones rejoicing. Countless fans across North America are all smiles this January with news that the league and the Players' Association have reportedly reached "a tentative deal on a new 10-year collective bargaining agreement," according to TSN's report.
In order to understand just how pivotal this moment truly is, let's take a closer look at how the league's top stars are reacting.
Los Angeles Kings center Dustin Brown, who helped lead the franchise to its first Stanley Cup championship in 2012, only needed one word to describe his feeling about the NHL lockout reportedly coming to an end:
Finally— dustin brown (@DustinBrown23) January 6, 2013
Want to thank the @zsclions organization for giving me this opportunity to play the game I love. It was a great experience.— dustin brown (@DustinBrown23) January 6, 2013
Also want to thank the fans of @zsclions they were great!— dustin brown (@DustinBrown23) January 6, 2013
Crosby: "I'm really happy a deal has been reached. It's exciting to know we will be back playing hockey."— Josh Yohe (@JoshYohe_Trib) January 6, 2013
Crosby and the Penguins flamed out early in the NHL Playoffs last spring, losing in the first round to division rival Philadelphia. With reports that there will be a season after all, Crosby and company will likely have another shot at making a deep postseason run this year.
As for Philadelphia, star winger Claude Giroux also tweeted in celebration over reports that the lockout has ended:
Giroux (@28CGiroux) January 6, 2013
Meanwhile, St. Louis Blues goalie Brian Elliott, who led the NHL in save percentage and fewest goals against average last season, only needed two tweets to express his excitement and gratitude for hockey's return:
Game On!— Brian Elliott (@KidElls1) January 6, 2013
Huge appreciation and thanks to both players and staff working non stop to get this done...last night and since this whole process began.— Brian Elliott (@KidElls1) January 6, 2013
Former NHL player and current analyst Jeremy Roenick tweeted from a fan's perspective not long after the reports began circulating:
Hockey is back! What is the NHL and NHLPA going to do to get every fan back? Fans deserve something for 4 months of anguish— Jeremy Roenick (@Jeremy_Roenick) January 6, 2013
It's hard to imagine any NHL die-hard disagreeing with Roenick. Fans can and will forgive the league for costing them months of hockey, but it's the league's turn to give something extra back to those who support it.
But I digress.
Clearly the players could not be more ecstatic about the return of the NHL. Sure, it took far too long for a deal to get done, but players and owners both know that it could have been much worse, and that some hockey, even a little, is better than none.
After all, it was only eight years ago that an NHL labor dispute cost players, fans and owners an entire year of their beloved game.
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