NHL owners and players reached a tentative agreement this week that, pending final approval, clears the way for the Stanley Cup playoffs to start Aug. 1, and labour peace to continue for four years. Here’s a closer look at some of the finer points:
Teams can invite up to 30 skaters plus unlimited goalies to training camp, which could start July 13. Players won’t be quarantined during camp, but are advised to stay home when not at the rink.
For the 24-team playoffs starting Aug. 1, each travelling party of 52 (31-player max) will be tested daily in the two NHL hubs — expected to be in Toronto and Edmonton. That includes coaches, trainers and other staff. Also hotel workers, food service employees and bus drivers.
While the league is encouraging physical distancing at all times, players won’t be required to wear masks when exercising or on the ice. The same goes for coaches behind the bench and off-ice officials. Masks are required to be worn inside the bubble by any individual not in their hotel room.
IN OR OUT?
Every team member/player inside the hub bubble will be expected to remain there except for extenuating circumstances, including medical attention, the birth of a child or a death in the family.
Helmet bumps, fist bumps and handshakes … aren’t prohibited, but they’re clearly discouraged.
The tentative four-year contract extension includes a return to the Winter Olympics in 2022 in Beijing, plus 2026 in Italy.
Water bottles can’t be shared, and will be wiped down and separated by dividers on the bench.
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While players are isolated in hub cities, the league will help families in need with errands such as groceries.