It appears like we will get some hockey this summer!
Most insiders expected the players and governors to accept CBA/Return to Play protocols, and this is what has apparently taking place Friday evening.
According to insider Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet, the players have voted to accept CBA/Return to Play protocols, which means training camps will kick off on Monday, with puck drop for the first game of the 24-team playoff tournament taking place in just three weeks.
Many insiders confirmed the news, moments later.
The membership voted 502-135 in favour of ratifying full CBA and RTP package. That's nearly 78.8 per cent in favour.
This means that the Return to play plan will go according, well, to plans for the NHL to stage a 24-team return later this summer. This agreement covers Phase 3 of the return — training camps beginning July 13 — and Phase 4 — the resumption of play on Aug. 1. Any player that wishes to opt out of returning to play will have 72 hours to do so once the agreement has been approved.
Players, notably New York Rangers star forward Artemi Panarin, made it clear that a new CBA needed to be in place before players should enter training camp. We now know how the league will move forward from a season that could cost it up to $1 billion in lost revenues. The current deal was set to expire in September of 2022 and the extension adds four more years.
A bit blow to teams is the fact that under the new deal, the upper limit of the salary cap will be held flat at $81.5 million and remain there for the upcoming seasons. However, the agreement offers some stability with regards to escrow charged to the players. With a 50-50 split in revenue and teams expected to play in at best partially full stadiums next season, players were potentially going to be hit very hard by escrow to cover the lost revenues. The new CBA caps escrow at 20 per cent in 2020-21 and that number will go down as league revenues go up over the course of the deal.
The most important thing fans will get out from this news is the fact that the 2019-20 season will concluded with a playoff tournament in which a Stanley Cup champion will be crowned.
And the cherry on top : Six years of labour peace in the NHL plus Olympic participation!