NHL Agrees on Plan to Return to action
The NHL & NHLPA finally see eye to eye and agree on plans to restart the season
The NHL and the NHL Players Association have agreed to terms on a plan that would see the resumption of the 2019-20 season. Both organizations have been working in unison throughout the shutdown, and it has shown with this agreement reached much quicker than other sports such as Major League Baseball. Both sides have agreed on how the current season will be concluded, and they also decided to add a four-year extension to the current Collective Bargaining Agreement. The CBA will now be valid through the 2026 season, which guarantees labor peace between the two sides.
Following this breakthrough, the next stage will be an official vote by all members of the NHLPA, and it is expected that the players will approve both the season restart plan and the new CBA extension. The NHLPA Executive Committee has given the green light, and the league has been urged to confirm the program before the end of July.
The plan consists of rules and guidelines for Phases 3 and 4 of the return, and the league is aiming to move to phase 3 imminently. The NHL created an initial return-to-play plan in May and has taken a cautious and slow approach to resume the season.
The plans for phase 3 include the beginning of training camps, set to take place in individual cities throughout the country. Since June, players have been able to train and keep in shape at their team facilities, but coaching staff and trainers have not been able to be with them. Phase 3 also details how players will travel to hub cities, which is expected to begin on July 26. Teams can continue their preparations in these hub cities, as well as holding exhibition matches.
Teams in the Eastern Conference will head to Edmonton to resume the current campaign, while Western Conference teams will be located in Toronto. Phase 4 will not come into force until the players are officially ready to restart the 2019-20 season. The current plan involves the qualifying round beginning on August 1, however that date is subject to change if there are any setbacks and more shutdowns due to the virus.
Twenty-four teams will be participating in the expanded playoff format this season, with the bottom eight teams from each conference playing in a best-of-three play-in round. The playoff seeding will be decided once the top four teams from each conference have completed a round-robin tournament. Not all of the details have been announced, but some media sources have revealed players will be given a choice to refuse to play without losing any salary.
35 Players Test Positive
The NHL announced 396 players had been tested since June 8, the date when players could begin training on their own. Of those tested, 23 were positive for COVID-19, with those players forced to go into self-quarantine.
The league also revealed 12 players have tested positive for the coronavirus, but those players had not yet reported for training. No names have been released of the players who have tested positive for the disease. The league has carried out over 2,900 COVID-19 tests since June 8. Once phase 3 of the return-to action plan kicks in, the league plans to test each player every day.
It’s not hard to see how big of an effect the virus has had, not just on sports, but land-based casinos too. With several leagues now looking at plans to return, here is hoping sports will all be back soon as we can get back to our mobiles and get betting again.
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