The National Hockey League has reached a tentative agreement with the NHL Officials Association on a new four-year contract, just days before the start of the 2010-11 season.
The deal, which requires ratification from the NHLOA and the NHL Board of Governors, was announced Monday evening with a brief press release on the league's website.
After the previous four-year contract between the league and its officials expired Aug. 31, it appeared replacement referees and linesmen would be used for the first time since the NHLOA went on strike for two weeks in 1993. A report in The Hockey News indicated the NHL had approached minor-league officials to work games when the season got under way Thursday.
But the agreement preempts the need for replacement officials.
The NHL did not say when the ratification process would be held.
The NHLOA website says the union has 39 referees and 33 linesmen.