Los Angeles Kings captain Dustin Brown said it best with a one-word tweet when he learned the NHL and its players association reached a tentative deal to end the nearly fourth-month-long lockout in the wee small hours of Sunday morning.
After a bitter labor impasse that began Sept. 15, the league and its players could be back to work as soon as Wednesday with the start of what's expected to be a very short training camp that might include one exhibition game followed by a regular season of 48 to 50 games.
The league set a Friday deadline to strike a deal or cancel the season.
It was the third lockout since Gary Bettman became commissioner in 1993.
This time, Bettman locked horns with Don Fehr, the players union chief.
They were assisted during a 16-hour session by Scot Beckenbaugh, a federal mediator.
"Don Fehr and I are here to tell you that we have reached an agreement on a framework for a new collective bargaining agreement," Bettman said during 2:30 a.
Said Fehr, who stood alongside Bettman after the two were at odds for the better part of four months of failed negotiations:
"Hopefully, within a few days, the fans can get back to watching people who are skating, not the two of us."
For the Kings, it means they will get to defend their first Stanley Cup title this season after all. It also means they and their fans will have a chance to see the championship banner raised on opening night, possibly as soon as Jan. 15 at Staples Center, rather than waiting until next fall.
In the meantime, as Kings president of business operations Luc Robitaille said in a statement to fans: "There are many details we are working out regarding your tickets, the new schedule, resumption of payments, ticket printing and delivery. Please let us gather this information and we will have more detailed information for you soon."
For the Ducks and their fans, it likely means one final chance to see the 42-year-old Teemu Selanne skate for one more season. Selanne hasn't said if this might be the final season of his Hall of Fame career, which included a Stanley Cup championship with the Ducks in 2006-07.
Or whether he'll keep playing and playing.
There are many details still be be worked out, including the length of the season. When the league locked out its players for a similar length in 1994-95, the teams played a 48-game regular season that featured only games against conference foes, followed by a full round of playoffs.
It also remains to be seen who emerged victorious in a lockout that came on the heels of record profits of $3.3 billion for the league in 2011-12. Bettman estimated each day of the lockout resulted in revenue losses of between $18 and $20 million.
The owners and players agreed to a 50-50 split of all hockey-related revenue. The owners and players also agreed to drop the salary cap to $64.3 million in 2013-14 from $70.2 million this season.
The league initially wanted a $60-million cap and the players wanted it set at $65 million.
Player contracts will be for a maximum of seven years, or eight if a team is re-signing its own player, the first time in league history contracts have been limited in their length. The new collective-bargaining agreement will be for 10 years with either side able to opt out after eight.
"I am really happy that a deal was reached and we're all excited to get back to playing hockey," said Pittsburgh Penguins superstar Sidney Crosby, perhaps speaking for all of the league's players, who had grown weary of the extended break from the game.
As ever in any sports labor fight, the biggest losers were the fans and the arena workers depending on paychecks to make ends meet.
Unfortunately for fans, the league has had some practice in luring them back to arenas, having gone through two previous labor impasses.
"All of us that love hockey, first and foremost, are excited we're going to have a season," hockey analyst Barry Melrose said Sunday on ESPN. "Hockey fans will be back. Revenues have gone up every year after the last lockout (wiped out the entire 2004-05 season).
"The NHL has a lot of fence-mending to do, but the fans will come back."
The quality of play might not be quite as poor as some might initially believe, primarily because many players stayed in their home cities and skated in groups in order to stay fit. Some of the Kings rented ice at the Toyota Sports Center in El Segundo, for example.
Others played in Europe, for better or for worse.
Anze Kopitar of the Kings suffered a minor knee injury while playing for Mora, IK, a Swedish club team, and will be sidelined for up to three weeks. Kopitar stayed sharp for a possible return to the Kings by scoring nine goals and adding 20 assists in 27 games.
"You have to get guys healthy and get on with the season," Melrose said. "A lot of things can go wrong with a shortened season. You don't have any time for mistakes."
Some fans and pundits might say the only mistake the NHL and its players made was not getting a deal done sooner. Then again, there didn't seem to be any sense of outrage among fans, at least south of the Canadian border, where hockey has lost some of its luster in recent years.
"They could have gotten here a lot sooner," Marc Ganis, president of Chicago-based sports business consulting firm Sportscorp Ltd, told The Associated Press. "They didn't hear a hue and cry from the fans, especially in the United States, when hockey wasn't played. That's very distressing. That indicates there's a level of apathy that is troubling. In contrast, in the NFL when there was a threat of canceling a preseason weekend, the nation was up in arms."