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A day before the first formal meetings between the NHL Players' Association and the NHL in weeks, the league cancelled what remained of its preseason schedule on Thursday.

The cancellation of the preseason schedule was necessary because of the absence of a collective bargaining agreement between the NHLPA and the NHL," a league statement said.

The NHL announced Wednesday that preseason games through Sept. 30 have been cancelled because of its lockout of players.

More than 250 players will descend on New York on Wednesday and Thursday as the NHL Players' Association gathers days before an inevitable lockout.

The current collective bargaining agreement expires Sept. 15 and commissioner Gary Bettman said the league would lock out players if a deal is not reached. With only informal talks taking place recently -- formal discussions broke off on Aug. 31 -- it's apparent that deal is far from happening.

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Adam L. Jahns is a native Chicagoan. Jahns has been with the Sun-Times since 2005, covering the Hawks since 2009. He's also helped cover the Bears, Cubs, Sox and high schools. Follow him on Twitter:@adamjahns

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