The NHL and the NHL Players’ Association agreed on protocols Sunday to resume the season, an important step toward the return of hockey this summer.
Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly told The Associated Press that there is agreement on protocols for training camps and games and that the parties are still negotiating an extension of the collective agreement, which is crucial to the process.
A person familiar with the situation stated that the return to play protocols would only come into effect if each party voted to approve the complete package of the ABC extension and return to play agreement. spoke on condition of anonymity because the CBA talks are still ongoing.
To make a return, two-thirds of the league’s board of directors and the majorities of the players’ executive committee and full members must vote for it.
If everything is ratified, this will end a forced shutdown in the event of a pandemic that started in mid-March. Matches would resume in late July or early August, with 24 teams participating in extended playoffs, ending with the Stanley Cup in October.
The agreement was first reported by TSN.
Assuming owner and player approval, teams are expected to open training camps on July 13 before traveling to two “hub” cities for the games. Players can skate and train off the ice in voluntary small group training since June 8 – almost three months after hockey stopped on March 12, with 189 regular season games remaining.
The return to the playoffs is seen as a moving victory for the NHL, which, like other top leagues, could lose millions more without television earnings from the playoffs. The cancellation of the rest of the season raised serious concerns and the positive tests did not help: 26 players since June 8, in addition to a dozen previously.
Boston defender Matt Grzelcyk called the test positive “revealing” but was expected. Some actors have been worried in recent weeks about the uncertainty surrounding a return.
“Obviously we have a unique situation right now,” said Montreal goalkeeper Carey Price. “The NHL and the NHLPA are trying to make the most of a very difficult situation. To move forward, I would like to play, but we have a lot of questions to be answered and many scenarios that must be covered before we can vote yes or no. “
Once play is resumed, a player’s positive coronavirus test result should not completely stop play. The league has declared that it will isolate any player or staff member who tests positive, recognizing that an epidemic would threaten the rest of the season.
The league will be responsible for testing players daily once they arrive in their city of play.
“The players will be fairly well protected from exposure,” said Montreal Canadiens owner Geoff Molson during a conference call in June. “It will be a completely different way for all of us and for us to watch hockey and meet a team because the players will be really well protected throughout the process.”
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