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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

NHL Player Lock-Out Threatened

NEW YORK -- National Hockey League commissioner Gary Bettman said Thursday the league will not start its season without a labor contract.

He said the NHL will lock out the players if a collective bargaining agreement is not reached by Oct. 1, opening night of the league's 78th season. "This is very difficult, but the absence of a collective bargaining agreement leaves us no choice," said Bettman, who earlier had downplayed the prospect of a lockout.

Bob Goodenow, executive director of the NHL Players Association, stressed the urgency of the situation. "I don't know if the season is at risk," he said. "Part of the season is at risk."

On Monday, negotiators from the NHL and union are to resume bargaining in Toronto.

"If we work hard, there's time to make a deal by Oct. 1," Bettman said.