Flyers founder Ed Snider usually sleeps until 8 a.m. on the weekend, but for whatever reason, he woke up at 5 a.m. in his suburban Philadelphia home on Sunday, checked his cellphone, and learned the NHL's 113-day labor dispute had ended.
For Snider, it was the perfect way to celebrate his 80th birthday.
"This ranks right at the top, as far as birthday gifts," he said in a telephone interview. "What a great birthday!"
When Snider read that the lockout was over, he immediately sent an e-mail to Gary Bettman, the NHL commissioner.
"I congratulated him, and he said: 'What are you doing up so early?!' " Snider said.
Snider said he was thankful there was labor peace.
"I'm happy for all the people hurt by this, the people who work around hockey," he said, "and I'm thrilled for our fans and players that it finally ended."
Before he learned the news, Snider said he thought both sides were getting close, "but it's never over until the fat lady sings. There were other times where we felt we were close and it went backward, so you never know."
On Monday morning, Snider will head to the Caribbean Island of St. Barts with his family, starting a one-week vacation to celebrate his milestone birthday.
"My kids are taking me. This was planned a long time ago, but we'll be back on the 14th, so I'll be there for the start of the season," which will start either Jan. 15 or 19. "Everything worked out perfectly."
Snider said he was a "little sad" that he may miss the entire training camp but that he was grateful the NHL can move forward.
The fact the new collective bargaining agreement is for at least eight years (and could stretch to 10) "is definitely the No. 1 thing in my book," Snider said. The CBA has "a lot of things in there that will stabilize the league and help clubs that need it most, so that's good for the league."
He was referring to teams supplying $200 million in revenue sharing to help franchises that are struggling financially. Half of the funds will come from the top 10 earning teams.
The free-spending Flyers figure to be one of the 10.
"Some of us that don't have problems [financially] have to sacrifice for those that do have problems," Snider said.
In addition, a $60 million "industry growth fund" has been created, and the NHL commissioner can use it at his discretion to help struggling teams.
Snider was happy that the 2013-14 season salary cap inched up to $64.3 million. Originally, the owners wanted it at $60 million. The cap floor will be at $44 million next season, a $4.3 million drop from last year, when the cap maximum was $64.3 million.
"I think we could have lived with any situation," Snider said of next year's salary cap, "but it works out well for us."