The National Hockey League keeps pushing for a return to action in June in order to finish the season and crown a Stanley Cup winner, and it seems like fans can finally get a first glimpse at the important dates in the process.
According to Renaud Lavoie of TVA Sports, the NHL has a plan written down for what a return to action would look like for players. Here is how he breaks it down in an ideal world:
- On May 15, players will have the right to resume training in small groups in cities where it is allowed. However as of right now, it would be impossible to do so in several cities in Canada as well as in the United States. Another issue is that the borders are closed until May 20 and those restrictions may be extended further into May. The situation European players is also complex seeing it remains unknown when they could return. Will they have to be quarantined for two weeks once arriving in America?
- June 1 would be the start of training camps, which would be held for three weeks. Players will need to be tested often, and right now there is no guarantee that the controls for COVID-19 will be available to everyone.
- On June 21, teams are slated to travel to the four chosen cities where it is possible that exhibition games will have be played behind closed doors.
- The official return of the season should take place on July 1 behind closed doors, in one of the four cities chosen by the NHL.
- The start of the playoffs could be set for July 21, with the traditional four-of-seven format. Playoffs are expected to continue until the end of September.
- The NHLPA will require that players have time to get back to their families during the postseason. The NHL will have to determine what will be the most logical and safest way to allow athletes to do so.Ideally, players should be able to return to their homes between each round of the playoffs. If they’re not allowed to do so, that could jeopardize the NHL’s plan to resume play.
- Around November 15, it would be the start of training camps for the 2020-2021 season.
- Next season would start around December 15. The Stanley Cup is expected to be awarded at the end of July 2021.
Mark your calendars!