NHL commissioner Gary Bettman confirmed on Thursday that the league will lock out the players if a new collective bargaining agreement isn't reached by September 15.
"We reiterated to the union that the owners will not play another year under the current agreement," he told reporters after the latest round of negotiations in New York.
"I re-confirmed something that the union has been told multiple times over the last nine to 12 months. Namely, that the time is getting short and the owners are not prepared to operate under this collective bargaining agreement for another season so we need to get to making a deal and doing it soon. And we believe there's ample time for the parties to get together and make a deal and that's what we're going to be working towards."
As I said yesterday, I don't think the season will begin until late November.
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