League reaches tentative agreement with match officials

TORONTO (Reuters) - The National Hockey League has reached a tentative four-year collective bargaining agreement with the NHL Officials' Association on Monday, likely ending any threat of a strike days before the 2010-11 season begins.

The deal is still subject to ratification between the league's board of governors and the union representing its officials, the NHL said on its website. Both sides will have no comment until the new deal is ratified.

The previous contract expired on August 31 and the league's officials and linesmen had been working through the pre-season games without a deal in place.

The regular season opens October 7 with five games, including one in Helsinki, Finland, between the Carolina Hurricanes and Minnesota Wild.

(Reporting by Frank Pingue; Editing by Ian Ransom)