The NHL is expecting to open training camps this Sunday with the hopes of starting the regular season on Jan. 19, according to NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly on Tuesday afternoon.
With the NHL and NHL Players Association already agreed on the terms of a new 10-year collective bargaining agreement, the formal process of documenting and ratifying the new deal is the only thing standing between the start of the 2013 season.
Until the document is officially ratified, league operations are not allowed to commence.
The NHL board of governors are expected to vote on the document on Wednesday and the union is anticipating that its 700-plus membership are going to sign off on the deal on Saturday. This would lead to the start of camps coming on Sunday, Jan. 13.
The league has remained focused on starting a 48-game regular season by Jan. 19 for some time. While some were hopeful that a 50-game season could begin on Jan. 15, the documentation process has taken longer than expected.