Union accepts new contract

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The Independent Online
ICE HOCKEY the National Hockey League players' union has accepted the owners' latest contract offer, ending the 103-day lock-out and saving the North American ice hockey season. Negotiators have until noon tomorrow to finalise the details.

The NHL Players' Association president, Mike Gartner, said a ratification vote on the six-year agreement still has to be held among the union's members, and no practices would begin until ratification was complete. union leaders and the executive committee have recommended that players accept the agreement, and they will vote on it by secret ballot over the next two days.

the season will probably start late next week, with a 48-game season per team and four full play-off rounds. The NHL normally plays an 84-game schedule per team.