National Hockey League club officials have scheduled a meeting, which could formally wipe out the remainder of the 2004-2005 season.
Top executives from the 30 clubs will gather on January 14 with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, at which time he could seek permission to cancel the remainder of the season. Players have been locked out since September amid an impasse over a new labor deal. No North American sports league has lost an entire season to a labor dispute.
If a collective bargaining agreement, which governs the general rules for all player contracts, has not been reached by the meeting, the lockout will likely end the season. The NHL is seeking a salary cap, which the players do not want.
The league and the players' association met twice within a week earlier this month, but no progress was made and no new talks have been scheduled. The Stanley Cup has been awarded every year since 1919 when a flu epidemic wiped out the final series between Montreal and Seattle.
Some information for this story provided by AP and AFP.