Niagara Gazette — If it was an apology fans of the Buffalo Sabres were waiting for, team President Ted Black delivered it Tuesday.
After 276 days without a game and 113 days of stalemated negotiations between the National Hockey League and its players association, Black said the team is sorry fans had to go so long without seeing their favorite team in action on the First Niagara Center ice.
“Certainly the fans are entitled to an apology,” Black said. “And on behalf of the Pegulas and the Sabres, we do apologize to our fans for having to go through this.”
Details of the new collective bargaining agreement are still being released prior to the league’s board of governors and its players each voting on the proposed deal, but it is believed to be a potential 10-year contract.
Black, who said he’ll attend the board meeting in New York City today, said he believes the term is something fans can rally around in preparation for the season. If approved, the longer term deal means if neither side opts out after eight years, another work stoppage couldn’t occur for a decade.
The previous CBA was in effect for eight seasons after the last lockout canceled the 2004-05 season.
What the team won’t be doing, even after so long, is reducing its ticket prices. Black said ticket prices aren’t going up or down this season and the organization will re-examine its variable pricing schedule once the schedule is
“Our ticket prices are set,” he said. “They won’t go up or down. Whenever the schedule come out, then we’ll look at what we’ll do. If we’re not playing west coast teams, we’ll need to re-examine everything.”
The team’s first game is expected to be Saturday, Jan. 19, though Black said the team’s first home game could be the next day.