NHLPA Approves Return-to-play Plan
The executive board of the National Hockey League Players Association (NHLPA) has agreed to a return-to-play plan that was presented to them by the NHL. These two sides have been working closely together to create a plan, and it was expected that it was going to pass.
Now the rest of the players in the NHL will have a chance to vote on the plan, and that vote is expected to take place this week. If the players give their approval, the league will enter Phase 3 of the plan on June 13.
Phase 3 allows for team training camps to begin, and this will be the first time that coaches and trainers can work with players. Players have been able to train since June 8, but they were forced to do so in small groups and without coaches present.
During Phase 3, teams will also start to travel to the two “hub” cities that were chosen by the league. Edmonton is set to host the Eastern Conference, and Toronto will be hosting the Western Conference. Edmonton will be the site of the Stanley Cup Finals.
Phase 4 is expected to begin on Aug. 1, and that is when the actual playoff games will start. The NHL is inviting 24 teams to take part in expanded playoffs in hopes of declaring a winner of the Stanley Cup.
The league also announced that players would have the opportunity to “opt-out” of the season if they so choose. Players must notify their teams of the decision within three days of the players agreeing to the plan, and they will not see any punishment or discipline for doing so.
The two sides also announced a four-year extension to the current collective bargaining agreement. The CBA will now run through 2026, and the league will be able to maintain labor peace for a longer period of time.
NHL Announces 35 Positive COVID-19 Tests
The league announced on Monday that 35 players from across the league have tested positive for COVID-19. A majority of those players were tested by the league directly, while others were tested elsewhere.
The league has tested 396 players since June 8, as that is the number of players that have reported to individual training camps. Of those 396 players, 23 have tested positive for COVID-19, and have had to undergo self-quarantine and monitoring.
Twelve other players have also notified the league of a positive test, and they have remained away from their training facility. The league has not announced any of the players with a positive test due to privacy laws.
The NHL has ramped up their testing over the past week, conducting more than 1,400 tests. Since June 8, the NHL has conducted more than 2,900 COVID-19 tests, which is expected to increase soon.
Once players arrive at the two “hub” cities to resume the season, they will be forced to submit to daily tests. The league has a plan in place if a player or a team staff member tests positive for COVID-19. Its hoped that streaming of games will happen again too so fans get to watch the action unfold. FanDuel signed an exclusive agreement to stream games live via their sportsbook app.
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