This just in, the NHL and NHLPA have officially reached a tentative agreement on its Return to Play plan and a new Collective Bargaining Agreement.
Check it out:
NEW YORK/TORONTO (July 6, 2020) – The National Hockey League (NHL) and National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA) have reached a tentative agreement on a Return to Play Plan and Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that adds an additional four years to the term of the current Collective Bargaining Agreement and includes transition rules and a new critical dates calendar. As part of the tentative agreement, the following dates have been established: July 13 – Start of formal training camps; July 26 – Clubs travel to hub cities; August 1 – Start of Qualifying Round. The tentative agreement is now subject to approval by the NHL’s Board of Governors, as well as the NHLPA’s Executive Board followed by the full NHLPA membership. The respective review and approval processes will take place over the next few days and there will be no further comment until those processes are completed.
It's now up to the NHLPA to vote and ratify the agreement.
Should the agreement go into effect, hockey fans can expect to see the puck dropped on the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs on Saturday, August 1st.
Training camps (Phase 3) will officially open a week today on Monday, July 13th. Players will travel to the NHL's two hub cities (Edmonton in the Western Conference, Toronto in the Eastern Conference) on July 26th in preparation for puck drop on August 1st. The hope then is that the Stanley Cup Playoffs will conclude with a new champion sometime before October, 2020. No word yet on the opening of the 2020-21 season, but I think it's probably safe to say that the NHL will push things into 2021 and utilize a condensed schedule in an attempt to wrap things up in June 2021. Hopefully come the 2021-22 season there will be some sense of normalcy when it comes to the NHL's schedule.
In any case, the NHL looks to be officially back. At the very least it's nice to pencil in some important dates on the calendar.