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October 27, 2012

NHL cancels games through November

NEW YORK — The NHL lockout has forced the cancellation of all games through the end of November.

The NHL announced Friday that 326 regular-season games from Oct. 11 through Nov. 30 were lost — more than 26.5 percent of the schedule. The news came one day after a league-imposed deadline passed for a deal with the players’ association that would allow for a full season.

“The National Hockey League deeply regrets having to take this action,” deputy commissioner Bill Daly said in a statement. “By presenting a proposal to the NHLPA that contemplated a fair division of revenues and was responsive to player concerns regarding the value of their contracts, we had hoped to be able to forge a long-term collective bargaining agreement that would have preserved an 82-game regular season for our fans. Unfortunately, that did not occur.

“We acknowledge and accept that there is joint responsibility in collective bargaining and, though we are profoundly disappointed that a new agreement has not been attained to this point, we remain committed to achieving an agreement that is fair for the players and the clubs — one that will be good for the game and our fans.”

The dispute is all too similar to the 2004-05 lockout that led to the cancellation of that entire season — the first time a North American professional sports league lost a complete campaign to a labor dispute.

Reaching a new deal potentially became even tougher Friday, because the NHL pulled off the table its most recent offer to the players — one that included a 50-50 split of hockey-related revenues.

“The league officially informed us today that they have withdrawn their latest proposal and have cancelled another slate of regular-season games,” union executive director Donald Fehr said in a statement. “This is deeply disappointing for all hockey fans and everyone who makes their living from hockey, including the players. But it comes as no surprise.”

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