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NHL planning for June return, July Stanley Cup Playoffs

League officials have put their plans on fast-forward over the past 24 hours.

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In case you missed the news yesterday, Fox Sports reporter Andy Slater dropped a bit of a bomb when he reported that NHL executives are discussing the possibility of resuming the 2019-20 NHL season in July.

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JUST IN: NHL looking at restarting season in July.
Games would be played at 4 or 5 neutral sites with limited or no fans, according to Florida Panthers president Matt Caldwell. 
On the conference call, he said this plan is not finalized.

Now, NHL insider David Pagnotta, citing “well-placed league sources”, is reporting the NHL’s plan is to allow players and select staff to return to their arenas and hold training camps at some point in June, with the regular-season continuing in July, followed by the start of playoffs.

“The goal, of at least both those leagues, is to finish this season in some way, shape or form. A lot of different ways to do that,” said Caldwell following yesterday’s call. “The latest that’s being discussed – and again, this is not finalized, I think the direction that both leagues are going, and things that I’m hearing – is resuming play some time this summer.”

“At least from the NHL, we’re trying to target some time in July. And when we feel that players are safe and we have enough testing and have enough ways to get back on the ice, it’s probably going to be contained at playing in four or five neutral sites.”

“When we are able to come out from the quarantine period, players are going to need time to work out,” Caldwell said.

It’s expected that teams will conduct mini-training camps in June with the balance of the regular season and the Stanley Cup Playoffs to be held in July. It’s unclear at this point where games would be played, but ESPN’s Emily Kaplan is reporting that Raleigh, Minnesota and Edmonton are all in consideration.

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Stay tuned, hockey fans. It feels and sounds like we’re on the verge of some kind of official announcement from the league. Hopefully, we'll all be watching some Stanley Cup Playoff action this summer.