Days after the NHL entered Phase 2 of its Return to Play plan, we now know a start date for formal training camps (Phase 3).
The joint announcement from the NHL and NHLPA that Phase 3 will begin on Friday, July 10 carries a big if, of course. Players and coaches will reunite fully as a team “provided that medical and safety conditions allow and the parties have reached an overall agreement on resuming play.”
The release also notes that the length of Phase 3, which would be tied to when play would resume (Phase 4), is still to be determined.
If we get to the point where training camps happen, there is still the question of the Canadian government’s mandatory 14-day quarantine for anyone entering the country. That has forced some teams north of the border involved in the 24-team format to eye a Phase 3 plan in the U.S.
“The logistics have been worked on for a camp in the U.S., if need be,” Flames GM Brad Treliving told Sportsnet. “I don’t want guys coming back to Calgary and sitting on their butts for two weeks in their condos and being out of shape when it’s time to go again. It may make more sense for us to have camp in the U.S. so we can have guys together quicker and being productive. The quarantine issue is a big one.”
If the NHL and Canadian government cannot work out a solution, that would end the chances for Toronto, Vancouver, and Edmonton to be one of the two hub cities if play resumes. Commissioner Gary Bettman said that he’d like to make a final decision sometime this month.
MORE RETURN TO PLAY:
• League clears up 2020 NHL Playoffs picture
• A look at the Eastern Conference matchups
• A look at the Western Conference matchups
• Final standings for 2019-20 NHL season, NHL draft odds