The first real casualty of the labor battle between the NHL and NHLPA was made official on Wednesday.
The league announced that all preseason games through September 30 are now canceled, including the Sharks game in Vancouver on Sep. 26, and home games on Sep. 27 vs. Phoenix and Sep. 29 vs. Anaheim at HP Pavilion. The Sharks will begin issuing refunds for games lost to full season ticket and partial plan holders on Oct. 31.
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The cancellation of the schedule was necessary because of the absence of a Collective Bargaining Agreement between the NHL Players Association and the NHL, read a statement released by the league.
The Sharks were set to open training camp on Sep. 21, but the NHL and NHLPA have not even had formal discussions since last Thursday while the CBA expired on Saturday. No talks are currently scheduled, although the NHLs Bill Daly and NHLPAs Steve Fehr have spoken on the phone several times, according to reports.
The cancelation of preseason games doesnt necessarily mean the regular season will be delayed, even though thats looking more and more likely. The NHL will likely wait until the end of the month before announcing the cancelation of any regular season games. The Sharks are scheduled to open on Oct. 12 in Anaheim, while league play begins the previous night.