After weeks of promise, after months of anticipation, we are finally beginning to get concrete plans for Phase 3/4 of the NHL’s Return to Play Protocol. Sunday night saw a slew of leaks to the national NHL media on Twitter, providing some more specifics for what training camps and the 2019-20 NHL Playoffs are going to look like.
Let’s go through it all.
First and foremost, Toronto will be the Hub City in the East. Edmonton will be the Hub City in the West. This is not confirmed but it’s all but certain.
Health and Player Rights
- There are strong penalties for any player that leaves the Bubble without permission (permissions include medical reasons or extenuating personal circumstances). It is possible for players to be removed from the Playoffs and teams punished with fines or losses of draft picks.
- Players will be allowed to opt out of the Return to Play Protocol. There is uncertainty in terms of when this deadline will be set, it’ll be something akin to at least three days after the NHLPA general vote approves the Protocol.
- Any player who tests positive will be deemed “unfit to play” and immediately quarantined (more of these details in the next section). COVID-19 positive tests will be deemed a “hockey-related injury” and will follow the CBA with regards to insurance and rights and all that.
- Coaches will not be required to wear masks on the bench.
- Players do not need to wear face coverings during exercises or while they are on the ice. Masks are “required for all individuals who enter a club training facility for Phase 3.” Masks are also required when social distancing cannot be maintained within training facilities.
- Players are not required to skate in public rinks during Phase 3 or 4.
Return to Play Stage 4 states, "Individuals leaving...without permission may be subject to consequences up to and including removal." In addition, "violations...will result in, for clubs, significant penalties, potentially including fines and/or loss of draft choices."— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) July 6, 2020
However, as we've seen, this situation is extremely fluid. NHL players will have at least another week before having to declare they're opting out of the restart, and it could end up being longer than that.— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) July 6, 2020
Any player who tests positive for COVID-19 or has a resulting or related illness will be deemed “unfit to play” and it will be an illness arising out of his employment as a hockey player and treated as a hockey-related injury for all purposes under the CBA.— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) July 6, 2020
NHL coaches won't be required to wear face coverings on the bench.— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) July 6, 2020
Face coverings are required for all individuals who enter a club training facility for Phase 3. Where social distancing cannot be maintained within the facility, face coverings are required other than when player is exercising or on the ice.— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) July 6, 2020
Testing and Sanitation
- Testing will be rigorous and it looks like the NHL has found a lot of them. Everyone in the bubble will be tested every day. Frank Seravalli has the details on who and how many tests could be done per day once the playoffs begin.
- 52 people allowed per team. This might be coincidental, but there are a maximum of 52 names each Stanley Cup Champion is allowed to have engraved on the Cup the year they win it.
- Surfaces all over the ice (glass, benches, floors, boards) will be cleaned between periods and between games. Water bottles will also be personalized and separated.
- Players who leave the bubble will be forced to quarantine upon return. Only four consecutive negative tests (one per day) will allow the player out of quarantine. These regulations could be longer in certain situations.
With just teams accounting for 1,248 tests per day (24 teams x 52 per team maximum) - it's easy to envision the #NHL requiring 2,000 tests per day at the beginning of the tournament. That's 20,000 tests in the first 10 days.— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) July 6, 2020
Between periods during games, bench area including flooring, bench surface, top of dasher board, water bottle area and glass will be disinfected. On #NHL benches, vertical dividers will be installed in the water bottle holders so each players' bottle is separate and upright.— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) July 6, 2020
#NHL players who are authorized to leave the bubble (for medical reasons or extenuating personal circumstances) can return. They will be forced to quarantine on return pending four negative tests over a four-day period - or longer depending on location or circumstances outside.— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) July 6, 2020
Players, Staff, and Families
- Rosters will officially be 30 skaters and unlimited goalies. All players must be on an NHL contract for the 2019-20 season. No players on tryouts or whose entry-level contracts start next season.
- Families of the final four teams will be allowed into the bubble once those teams are determined.
- A nice addition, “When NHL players are away from home during Phase 4, team personnel will assist with grocery delivery and errand delivery for their families, as needed.”
- “Every NHL team is required to bring at least one content creator/social media employee with them inside the bubble during Phase 4.”
The Phase 3/4 RTP protocol is a 40-page document. Some of the details are as follows: A limit of 30 skaters in Phase 3 with an unlimited number of goalies; Only players eligible to play 2019-20 resumption permitted to skate in Phase 3;— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) July 6, 2020
#NHL Phase 4 protocol says players’ families will be allowed to join for Conference Finals and Stanley Cup Final in Edmonton and will be allowed to share hotel rooms.— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) July 6, 2020
That means players advancing will go a minimum of five weeks away from their families.
When NHL players are away from home during Phase 4, team personnel will assist with grocery delivery and errand delivery for their families, as needed.— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) July 6, 2020
Every NHL team is required to bring at least one content creator/social media employee with them inside the bubble during Phase 4.— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) July 6, 2020
Are you satisfied by the rules shared so far?
This poll is closed
Yeah, looks good
I’m worried about one or two decisions on here
Would like to see what more they have
Cancel The Playoffs