The National Hockey League (NHL) returned to some semblance of normalcy as training camps around the league opened Sunday (January 13) ahead of next weekend's start to the season.
Players and coaches will have only six days to get reacquainted with another as the condensed 48-game season is scheduled to begin on Saturday, January 19.
Camps were allowed to open only after yesterday's signing of the memorandum of understanding, essentially an abridged version of the collective bargaining agreement that spells out the terms under which the league and players will operate, which was the last obstacle standing in the way of ending the lockout.
"What happened in the past is in the past now and we're just looking forward to getting the season started because no one wanted to lose a whole year of hockey," said Drew Doughty of the defending Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings.
The puck will drop on the regular season next week with 26 of the NHL's 30 teams in action, including the Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings at home to the Chicago Blackhawks.
The dispute, which was the league's fourth work stoppage in 20 years and the first since a lockout wiped out the entire 2004-05 season, began in mid-September and resulted in billions of dollars in lost revenue for the NHL and players.
The season was originally scheduled to start last October.