The NHL moved a step closer to a hockey season Wednesday when the league's board of governors unanimously ratified the terms of a new 10-year collective bargaining agreement.

The NHL players are expected to vote on the CBA Friday and Saturday. Once that's done, the league will release the schedules for a 48-game regular season that will start Jan. 19.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said he told the league's 30 governors the new CBA was a "good deal, a fair deal." It's a deal that took months to complete, coming after a 113-day lockout that tested the patience of owners, players and especially fans.

"In the end neither side got everything it wanted and everyone lost in the short term," Bettman said in a press conference. "But the NHL gained a long-term agreement that's good for players and good for teams and should guarantee the future success of NHL hockey for many years to come. It will help the game to grow, ensuring greater economic stability for all of our teams."

Bettman also issued a personal apology.

"As commissioner of the National Hockey League it falls upon me to make tough decisions that disappoint and occasionally anger players and fans," he said. "This was a long and extremely difficult negotiation, one that took a lot longer than anybody wanted. I know it caused frustration, disappointment and even suffering to a lot of people who have supported the National Hockey League in many different ways."

Once the CBA is approved by the players, training camps will open Sunday. Teams will only have a few days to set rosters and prepare for a shortened season with added intensity.

Read more here: http://www.newsobserver.com/2013/01/10/2594355/league-approves-new-10-year-cba.html#storylink=cpy