NHL Linesman Greg Devorski (#54)

NHL Linesman Greg Devorski (#54) (Tom Turk/Piratical Photography)

The NHL preseason gets underway on Sunday and the league’s referees and linesmen will be there — even though they’ll be working without a contract.

The NHL Officials Association’s Collective Bargaining Agreement with the league has expired.  Though both parties are actively working on coming to terms, they’ve agreed to have the on-ice crews work the preseason while negotiations continue.

The officials have no intention of going on strike and expect to have a deal in place by the start of the 2014-15 campaign, according to QMI Agency, as reported by the Toronto Sun.

In 2010, when their previous CBA was agreed upon, the NHL and NHL Officials Association negotiated until three days before the start of the regular season before coming to terms. Referees and linesmen worked the entire 2010 preseason without a contract.  Negotiations had reached the point where the NHL had even explored the possibility of bringing in minor league officials to work NHL games.  Thankfully, everything was resolved prior to the start of the season.

The league and officials met in Toronto in early August to begin working on their new CBA. With two weeks to go before the start of the regular season, we can all hope that an agreement is reached in time.