As the NHL continues inching closer to a possible return to action, representatives from the NHL and NHL Players’ Association have tentatively agreed to protocols for Phases 3 and 4 of the League’s plan, according to a Sportsnet report.
An extension for the current collective bargaining agreement between the two sides remains in the negotiation stages, according to the same report.
Phase 3 covers the opening of training camps — slated for “not earlier than the first half of July” per the League’s initial announcement in late May — while Phase 4 deals with the resumption of games in two “hub” cities: reportedly Toronto and Edmonton.
Details are still being finalized and the agreements will still need to pass through the NHLPA’s executive committee. According to TSN reporter Bob McKenzie, the protocol consists of a 40-page document which includes information such as:
- Training camp rosters can include 30 skates and an unlimited number of goalies
- Only eligible players are allowed to skate with the team
- Players may choose to opt out of Phase 3 or Phase 4 without penalty, but the decision must be made by 5 p.m. ET on Tuesday, July 7 (all deadlines are subject to change)
- Teams must submit their list of training camp participants by July 9
Additional information included in the documents details the logistics for players traveling to their cities for training camp, what quarantine measures must be taken and how they’ll be tested.
Frequent testing is detailed in McKenzie’s report, which mentions:
- All players and club personnel will be tested 48 hours before returning to team facilities and once every two days following the initial test. All results will be available within 24 hours.
- If test results are not available within 24 hours, the player/personnel tested will not be admitted to the facilities until there is a negative test
- One section of the protocol states that players who are at a higher risk of developing a serious illness after being exposed to the coronavirus shall be deemed “unfit to play” and not permitted to participate in either phase
- Face coverings will be required for individuals who enter a team facility
Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman tweeted portions of the protocol which detail the circumstances for what would happen of the ongoing pandemic affected the League’s ability to continue playing games.
More information on the details of the NHL’s return-to-play format are expected early this week.