It’s finally official. After weeks of negotiating, the NHL and NHLPA have reached a tentative agreement on the Return to Play Plan and an extension of the collective bargaining agreement.
With the tentative agreement in place, we now have actual dates regarding the resumption of the 2019-20 NHL season. The key dates are as follows:
July 13 — Start of Phase 3 (formal training camps)
July 26 — Clubs travel to hub cities (Toronto and Edmonton)
August 1 — Start of Phase 4 (Qualifying round of 24-team tournament)
There’s a lot to unpack here, so here are the key takeaways:
- Each team participating in the 24-team tournament can carry a maximum of 30 skaters during Phase 3, including an unlimited number of goalies.
- Phase 3 and Phase 4 are not mandatory to all players. Players can opt to not participate without facing any consequences. However, they will have to notify their club of their decision by July 7.
- Each club can bring a maximum of 52 people to their secure zone in Phase 4. These 52 people include players, coaches, club executives, club staff and other personnel.
- All players participating in Phase 4 must remain in their secure zone unless given permission to leave (medical reasons, family events, et cetera).
- Players who leave their secure zone without permission can be removed from participating in Phase 4. Teams can also be assessed fines or loss of draft pick(s).
- Players’ families are not permitted to enter the secure zone until the Conference Finals at the earliest.
- The revised CBA will extend through the 2025-26 season.
- NHL players will be allowed to participate in the 2022 and 2026 Winter Olympics, pending approval from the IIHF and IOC.
If you’d like to know more about the agreement, you can read the full Return to Sport Protocol for both Phase 3 and Phase 4 here.
While a memorandum of understanding has been reached, the NHL Board of Governors and NHLPA now must ratify the agreement. It is not a guarantee that the agreement will be ratified. If this is the case, the NHL and NHLPA will have to head back to the drawing board. For now, though, this is excellent news for those hoping to watch playoff hockey this summer.