Phase 2 of the NHL’s return-to-play process includes team practice facilities opening for small group workouts.
On Monday morning, The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun announced that the NHL is ready to move to Phase 2 of its return-to-play plan, which will allow no more than six players to be at a practice facility at one time. During these workouts, no coaches or other team personnel will be allowed on the ice with the players.
The 29-page memo did not include an exact date for Phase 2 to go into effect, but the plan is currently for early June. It is also worth noting that the memo stated that player participation is “strictly voluntary”, as teams cannot force players to practice and risk their safety.
Players and staff participating in Phase 2 will go through mandatory coronavirus tests two days before they are scheduled to participate and will be tested twice a week afterward. Players will also be required to wear face coverings while inside team facilities, except for when they are on the ice.
Phase 2 is another big step in the right direction for the NHL to award the Stanley Cup this season. Last Friday, the NHL and NHLPA agreed upon a potential 24-team postseason, which would include the 32-30-8 Chicago Blackhawks. A return to play is starting to sound more and more likely, but there are still too many risks to commit to a date at the moment.
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