Rock good to go, other teams not so lucky

RYAN WOLSTAT -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:54 AM ET

The Toronto Rock's 10th season is a go after all, but how many other teams will be joining them in the National Lacrosse League is up in the air.

One thing that is known though, is that the league will have long-term labour peace for the first time in its 22-year history, after owners signed off on a five-year collective bargaining agreement yesterday that could be extended as long as seven years if both sides pick up their option.

As reported by Sun Media Wednesday night, the Professional Lacrosse Players' Association agreed on the owners' final proposal that evening, sending it back to the owners for ratification yesterday.

NLL commissioner Jim Jennings, who said just over a week ago that the 2008 season was cancelled and that there was "no way" it could be revived, was happy to eat his words yesterday.

"For all intents and purposes the season was cancelled. It was dead as dead can be," Jennings said on a conference call.

"GLAD I WAS WRONG"

"I'm glad that we are here, glad that I was wrong."

The original 2008 schedule has been wiped out because some teams already have given their game dates back to the arenas they use.

Rock president and co-owner Brad Watters said the club still has all its dates at the Air Canada Centre though.

However, the Rock's opponents will be changing, since at least one team -- the expansion Boston Blazers -- already has announced that it will not compete this year.

The league plans to hold a dispersal draft should any teams suspend operations. Watters said that would be good news for the Rock, since the team lost defenceman Patrick Merrill to Boston in the expansion draft.

The NLL had previously proposed a six-year deal with a 3% increase in average player salary from 2008-2013.

Under the new agreement, most players would get annual 6% raises, while franchise players and those making the veteran maximum would receive 5% more.


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