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NHL reaches tentative agreement with officials

The Associated Press

10/4/2010 7:51:12 PM

TORONTO -- The NHL and the officials' union have reached a tentative deal on a new collective bargaining agreement just days before the opening of the regular season.

The deal struck Monday is a four-year agreement and is subject to ratification by members of the NHL Officials' Association and the league's board of governors. Both sides declined comment until the contract is ratified.

Referees and linesmen worked the entire NHL pre-season schedule without a contract.

The regular season begins Thursday with a five-game slate, including a match in Finland between the Carolina Hurricanes and Minnesota Wild. Games will also be held in Sweden and the Czech Republic this week along with those played in North America.