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NHL Clears Another Hurdle to Return

The NHL took a major step tonight announcing the league and the players have finalized an agreement for phase 3 and 4 of the NHL return to play.

The next task for both the NHL and NHLPA is to finalize a CBA MOU or memo of understanding. It was agreed that the players and the board of governors wouldn’t vote to get it ratified unless the return to play and the CBA extension was included in one big vote.

That vote is sure to come next week and every single player will have to vote on it to get it ratified and approved. There was a lot of new information given tonight so let’s have a look at what was released.

A major question was answered with a lot of people asking what if a player during phase 3 or 4 tests positive for Covid-19 and we now know that player will be removed and put under isolation. Whether it’s a positive test or symptoms strict health protocols are in place.

Players will be tested at home 2 hours prior to arriving at their team’s practice facility and then once they arrive they will have their temperature checked before entering the building.

Phase 3 could start as early as July 13th but that date is tentative and scheduled to change. Teams could  potentially travel to Edmonton or Toronto which are the 2 hub cities around July 25 or 26 and we could have games as early as the first week of August. It is reported that every single person in the Hub City bubble will be tested.

Players, coaches, staff, officials, ice crew, security, hotel bartenders, food service staff, arena food and beverage, hotel housekeeping, hotel kitchen staff, and transportation are on the list.

Also, we do have a protocol in place in case a player needs to leave the bubble for a medical or personal reason. They will be forced into a quarantine period and have to show 4 negative tests over a 4 day period or longer depending on how long the player was out of the bubble.

There are also strict penalties for those who do not follow the protocol. They will be enforced financial penalties as well as the possibility of losing draft picks.

In regards to families, they will not be allowed in the bubble until at least the Conference finals and Stanley Cup final. They will be allowed to share hotel rooms but that means players will have to go at least 5 weeks without seeing their families.

During phase 3 face coverings are required to be worn when entering a club facility. They will also need to wear one when social distancing can’t be done and the only time a face covering isn’t worn is on the ice. Also, players who enter phase 3 are not allowed to train at home, workout, or skate in any public facility.

There is also a new rule for teams in regards to disclosing players who tested positive. No club is allowed to disclose that information to the media or to the public during phase 3.

It’s a lot to take in but it means we are one step closer to hockey and I’m being told CBA MOU or memo of understanding could be finalized tonight or tomorrow.

We will continue to keep you updated and once everything is finalized we will break the news. 

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