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NHL allows players to return to home countries amid COVID-19 pandemic

Twenty-four Blackhawks players can now travel home if they self-quarantine until at least March 27.

NHL: Chicago Blackhawks at Tampa Bay Lightning Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The NHL has told its players they are permitted to return to their home countries if they self-quarantine until at least March 27.

It’s a change from the NHL’s initial plan, which asked players to remain in their home NHL cities as the League sorted out the next steps with its paused season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For the Blackhawks, that means 24 players can now fly to their home country: 19 Canadians, David Kampf and Dominik Kubalik (Czech Republic), Adam Boqvist and Lucas Carlsson (Sweden) and Olli Maatta (Finland).

The policy change comes less than 24 hours after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) recommendation that organizers “cancel or postpone in-person events that consist of 50 people or more throughout the United States” for eight weeks to slow the spread of the coronavirus. If the NHL and NHL Players’ Association agree to resume play, there would be a training camp period at the beginning of May near the 45-day mark into the CDC’s 60-day period.