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Last Updated: Saturday, 23 July 2005, 03:55 GMT 04:55 UK
NHL owners rubber-stamp new deal
The National Hockey League will return in October after the team owners approved new contract terms.

An entire season was lost when players were locked out on 15 September after owners and unions reached an impasse over a new labour agreement.

But on 13 July both sides announced they had hammered out a collective bargaining agreement.

The Players' Association ratified the new terms on Thursday and the owners have now rubber-stamped the deal.

The board of governors voted unanimously 30-0 to accept the six-year deal which includes a number of rule changes and pay cuts for the majority of players.

About 230 players had been in Toronto on Thursday to vote on the six-year deal with nearly 90% in favour.

The deal includes a salary cap for each team between $21.5m and $39m salary cap.

There also is a provision that allows a player to make a maximum salary of $7.4m - 20% of the team cap.

The minimum salary is set at $450,000 with pension benefits improved.

Among the rule changes, a shootout will now be held after a game that is tied at the end of regulation and still without a winner at the conclusion of a five-minute sudden-death overtime period.

Other amendments include the removal of the red line to permit longer passes while nets will be moved two feet closer to the end boards.

Goaltenders will have both the size of their playing equipment and the areas from which they can handle the puck restricted.

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