The NHL board of governors and NHL Players’ Association have ratified the return-to-play plan and a four-year extension to the collective bargaining agreement, paving the way for the league to resume its pandemic-hit season later this summer in Canada.
As part of the 24-team blueprint to resume the 2019-20 campaign halted March 12 because of COVID-19, Toronto and Edmonton were also officially unveiled as hub cities.
Training camps will open Monday in each team’s home market, with clubs scheduled to head to their respective hubs July 26 before games start to count Aug. 1.
Once in Toronto and Edmonton, players will be kept in so-called “bubbles” – tightly-controlled circles with stringent health protocols and daily testing – separate from the general public in hopes of keeping the coronavirus at bay.
The extension of the CBA, which had been set to expire in September 2022, was viewed as a crucial aspect of the return-to-play plan because of the dire economic realities brought on by COVID-19. The new deal runs through at least the 2025-26 season.