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NHL schedule 2013: CBA ratification process will determine when free agency begins

The NHL and NHLPA still have to ratify the new CBA, a process that's expected to be complete over the weekend.

Andre Ringuette

The NHL's Board of Governors meets in New York City on Wednesday, and it's expected that they'll take a vote on whether or not to ratify the new collective bargaining agreement with their players. The vote is expected to pass overwhelmingly.

The players, meanwhile, are set to ratify the CBA later in the week, possibly on Thursday or Friday. The two sides then need to complete and sign a memorandum of understanding before training camps can officially open and "off-season" transactions such as free agency and trading can resume.

If all goes according to plan on this timetable, training camps will officially open around the league on Sunday, Jan. 13. The season will then begin according to plan on Saturday, Jan. 19. Players are already gathering in their NHL cities and taking part in unofficial team-led practices despite the fact that the lockout is still technically in effect until the CBA is ratified.