Mark Schnyder, NBC 5 News
Dallas Stars fans say they're glad the NHL lockout is over but wonder what the season holds.
Dallas Stars fans are glad the National Hockey League and players' association agreed on a deal that ends the 113-day lockout but some are surprised it took so long. Now the question is when does the season start and will the fans return to the stands?
The deal came together after a 16-hour negotiating session that stretched from Saturday afternoon until just before dawn Sunday.
Before 7 a.m. Sunday teams from the Dallas Stars Travel Hockey League competed at the NYTEX Sports Center in North Richland Hills. Some hockey parents were glad to hear the lockout had been lifted but many wonder how much damage it did.
"Based on hockey being the sport it is, it's not the dominant sport in North America so I think anytime you don't have hockey, you lose that fan base and I'm not sure you get it back," said Kairi Lofton who played club hockey in college.
Teresa Tyson is one Stars fan who may not be back.
"Well, I think for me as a fan, when you don't see your team and your not involved in them and you're not watching them, to me when they come back, you've lost interest," said Tyson.
"I am so happy," said Jean Kylie in town visiting from North Dakota. "I've been waiting for the lockout to end. I was very disappointed in the owners when they locked them out."
If the 10-year agreement is ratified by the owners and the players, schedule issues still have to be worked out. The NHL has models for 50- and 48-game seasons.
"I still support them," said Dallas Stars' fan Justin Jones. "I hope we can get our season going again and get our fans involved in what they're doing."
The original estimate was regular-season games could begin about eight days after a deal was reached. It is believed that all games will be played within the two respective conferences, but that also hasn't been decided.
All games through Jan. 14, along with the All-Star game and the New Year's Day Winter Classic had already been canceled, claiming more than 50 percent of the original schedule.