After 113 long days of negotiations, the National Hockey League (NHL) and the National Hockey League Players' Association (NHLPA) reached an agreement on the framework of a new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) early Sunday morning. The league have yet to announce the start date for the season or the number of games each team will play. "Those dates will be announced soon", commissioner Bettman said. The new CBA, which must be drafted and formally approved by both parties, replaces the agreement that expired on Sept 15th.
As a result, all NHL players will immediately return to their home clubs in the United States and Canada, including those currently active in the German DEL. Krefeld Penguins' Christian Ehrhoff is already on his way back to Buffalo and Eisbären Berlin will be without Daniel Brière and Claude Giroux who are headed back to Philadelphia. Adler Mannheim will be without three stars as Jason Pominville (Buffalo), Dennis Seidenberg (Boston) and Marcel Goc (Florida) all head back to the NHL.
For EHC Red Bull München, that means that both Blake Wheeler (Winnipeg Jets) and Paul Stastny (Colorado Avalanche) will also no longer be a part of the team with immediate effect. The rest of the team is now in a position where they have to prove that they can win games without the impact of their star imports.
"It was a huge honour for us to have had those two outstanding players wear the uniform of our club", said EHC general manager Christian Winkler. "We would like to extend our best regards and say thank you to both of them for their excellent performances. We knew that the NHL lockout would eventually come to an end. Anything else would have done extensive damage to the wonderful sport of hockey. We wish both players the very best and utmost success with their respective clubs in the NHL. EHC Red Bull München will keep both Blake Wheeler and Paul Stastny in great memory. We have full confidence in our team and are sure that all have learned and grown through the impact of both Blake and Paul."
Wheeler collected 20 scorer points (6 goals, 14 assists) in his 15 games for EHC, while Stastny added another 18 scorer points (7 goals, 11 assists) during his 13 game stint with München.