The NHL is coming back. The NHL and NHLPA have agreed that Phase 3 (training camps) will begin on July 10th for the 24 teams in the playoffs.
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) June 11, 2020
NHL Training Camps Set For July 10th
As we know Commissioner Gary Bettman laid the grown work for the NHL’s return to play plan. In there he outlined what it will take for the league to get going again outlining each phase of the plan. Currently, the NHL is in Phase 2, which began on Monday, June 8th. As part of this phase, small groups of players are allowed to enter the building during specific times to work out. These players can be on the ice working out or in the gym. As of now, not all facilities are open to skate, but by the end of the week or beginning of next that will happen.
However, there is a lot that needs to go into Phase 3 including having the testing in place for players to return to the ice in full groups. In addition, the medical and safety conditions must allow this to happen. Along with both sides reaching a full agreement on resuming play. Not to mention having the hub cities announced. All of the parameters have to be negotiated between the NHL and NHLPA. During his press conference a few weeks ago Commissioner Bettman had stated training camps would start no earlier than July 10th. And today we get the official announcement.
What Does This All Mean
Well, this means there will definitely be hockey this summer. The NHL has a partnership with NBC in the United States and Sportsnet in Canada. Both the NHL and NHLPA have stated they wanted at two-three weeks for training camp. With camps opening July 10th, this gives them at least two weeks before the NBC Olympic TV window was supposed to start. With the Olympics being cancelled, NBC needed time to fill timeslots. What better way to do that then with the summer hub tournament.
In addition, do not think for one minute the NHL does not want to be the first sport back on TV. With the NBA announcing July 31 as their restart date, this gives them some wiggle room to drop the puck and get eyeballs on their product first.
Again there is still a lot of work to be done before the puck actually drops. The NHL and NHLPA have to agree on the length of training camps. Plus they have to agree on Phase 4 (the formal resumption of play) will actually happen. But we are getting closer and closer to hockey returning.
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