Commissioner Gary Bettman issued a public apology when announcing the end of the lockout on Jan. 6.
Commissioner Gary Bettman issued a public apology when announcing the end of the lockout on Jan. 6.
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

NEW YORK (AP) -- With hockey set to return after a four-month lockout, the NHL is apologizing again.

Echoing last week's remarks by Commissioner Gary Bettman, the NHL is using full-page newspaper ads Thursday to tell fans it's sorry for the lockout that delayed the season and trimmed the schedule from 82 games to 48. The season starts Saturday.

The ad says: "Like you, we've missed NHL hockey."

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The league is thanking fans for their patience and apologizing for the lost games. The ad says the league is "committed to earning back your trust and support" with "hard work and unwavering dedication."

The ad is running in about 40 newspapers across the United States and Canada. It appears in at least one newspaper in each of the NHL's 30 team markets as well as a handful of national papers in the two countries.

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