(Reuters) - The National Hockey League's (NHL) board of governors ratified the tentative labor deal on Wednesday, bringing players one step closer to playing after a four-month lockout that threatened to wipe out the entire season.
Requiring a simple majority to pass, league owners voted unanimously to approve the tentative agreement that was agreed to early on Sunday after a marathon 16-hour bargaining session.
The NHL Players' Association are expected to vote on the deal on Friday and Saturday.
If the players approve the deal it will remove the final obstacle standing in the way of what is expected to be a 48-game regular season that would open on January 19.
(Reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto; Editing by Frank Pingue)
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