Moving ever closer to a return to hockey, the NHL and NHL Players’ Association reached tentative agreements Sunday on hub cities, as well as protocols for Phase 3 (training camp) and Phase 4 (postseason).
However, as of Sunday night, the parties still were working on a tentative agreement on a new collective bargaining agreement. And until that happens, there will be no final ratification vote for a proposal to send the NHL back on the ice for the first time since March 11 — when play was halted because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The league had not issued an official statement on a hub city, Phase 3 and Phase 4 tentative agreement as of 9:30 p.m. Sunday night, but multiple news outlets indicated that was the case, including Canada’s TSN, The Associated Press and ESPN.
When there is an agreement on a CBA, the NHL’s Board of Governors (which includes each team), the NHL Players’ Association executive board (which consists of one member per team), and then the NHLPA (all players) will vote on the entire package at once: hub cities, Phase 3 and Phase 4, and CBA.
If all goes well, there could be final ratification by mid to late this week, with a hoped-for start of training camp July 13.
Edmonton and Toronto will be the hub cities, with the Blues defending their Stanley Cup title in Edmonton. The conference finals for the Eastern and Western conferences, as well as the Cup Final, will take place in Edmonton according to multiple reports.
Among other details reported Sunday evening, families will be allowed to visit players and stay in the players’ room for the conference finals and Cup Final only.
The game-day roster can be up to 31 players, players have three days after ratification to opt out of participating, and there will be daily testing in hub cities of basically everyone in the bubble — including players, coaches, staff, game officials, ice crew, security, and hotel and transportation personnel.
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