We knew it would happen. This week the word came officially that the NHL players association has approved the agreement to play the remainder of this season.
The players association also extended the collective bargaining for four years through the 2025-26 season.
The new CBA deal came with both sides’ agreeing on testing for COVID and protocols for training camps. That means that we will have playoff hockey on the first of August.
Training camps will open next Monday, July 13, with the games resuming August first. The opening of training camp coincides with phase three of the NHL’s return to play.
The NHL will go straight to the playoffs with 24 teams participating. Teams will travel to Toronto or Edmonton to resume their season on July 26th.
There were talks of teams playing one exhibition game before the playoffs begin.
Although there has been no official announcement on the hub cities, the fact that Toronto and Edmonton are being talked about extensively as the hub cities is one of the worst kept secrets.
Phase four of the return to play begins August first. That is when the round-robin playoff tournament and the play-in games will begin.
The teams that advance from the qualifying round will remain in the two hub cities for the first two rounds of the playoffs. The four teams that advance past the second round will then go to one hub city for the conference finals and Stanley Cup Final.
Rosters will be limited to 31 players, including goalies for training camp.
Each team will be allowed a maximum of 52 people inside the secure zone of the hub cities. That includes ownership, players, coaches, executives, and staff.
If a team is bringing an extra goaltender or two, those extra goaltenders will count against the 52 people maximum.