The NHL board of governors unanimously approved the league's new 10-year collective-bargaining agreement on Wednesday at a meeting with commissioner Gary Bettman in New York.
All that's left standing in the way of the teams getting back on the ice is ratification by the NHL Players' Association, according to multiple reports. That is expected to come by Friday or Saturday.
The players will vote on a memorandum of understanding that was still being finalized Wednesday by attorneys, ESPN.com reported.
If the players sign off on the agreement, training camps are set to open Sunday and the abbreviated 48-game regular season will begin Jan. 19.
The owners and the players agreed in principle to a deal last Sunday. The owners locked out the players on Sept. 16, wiping out nearly half of the regular season, the Winter Classic and the NHL All-Star game.
---The Toronto Maple Leafs fired team president and general manager Brian Burke on Wednesday and named Dave Nonis as his successor.
Burke, who will remain with the team as a senior adviser, came to Toronto in November 2008 after winning a Stanley Cup with the Anaheim Ducks in 2007.
The Maple Leafs haven't reached the playoffs since the 2004 season and the team's record during Burke's tenure was 94-98-32.
Nonis has served as the team's senior vice president of hockey operations.
---NHL teams will have only five games to decide whether to keep 18- and 19-year-old draftees (and thus use up a year of their entry-draft-level contracts) or send them back to juniors, according to TSN. This rule will apply this season only, and the nine-game limit is expected to return next season.