NHL to make return to play announcement later today

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NHL commissioner Gary Bettman will make an announcement later at 4:30 p.m. ET on the NHL return-to-play format, the league said Tuesday afternoon in a statement. The media availability will take place at 6:00 p.m. AND.

TSN Hockey insider Bob McKenzie reports NHL general managers will get details of the league’s return to play format during a conference call at 3 p.m. Tuesday. AND before the announcement of the league. McKenzie added that details of the NHL Entry Draft and the schedule and format of the lottery draw are expected to be part of Tuesday’s announcement.

TSN Hockey’s insider Pierre LeBrun tweets that a return to play announcement is just the first step in a series of things that must go well for the NHL to resume its 2019-2020 season.

“There are so many obstacles to overcome, more negotiations are needed between the NHL / NHLPA on main cities, testing, protocols … the format is only the first step,” he tweeted.

The National Hockey League Players’ Association executive council approved a 24-team return to play proposal last week. An official announcement was initially to be made in the coming days.

The league released a memo on Monday announcing that it was targeting early June as the start date for phase 2 of its return to play plan, including the opening of training rinks for small voluntary group training on and off the ice.

If the phase 2 plan gets the green light, the ice sessions will be non-contact and involve up to six players, who will have to maintain a physical distance at all times. Coaches will be allowed to watch but not to participate in skates or training.

The NHL stopped its regular season on March 12, one day after the NBA stopped its season after Rudy Gobert of Utah Jazz was found to have tested positive for the coronavirus.



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