The NHL and NHLPA have finalized the protocols for Phases 3 and 4 of the league's return-to-play plan. Both sides are also in the process of finalizing details for a collective bargaining agreement extension, according to ESPN. The protocols still need to be approved by the NHLPA's executive committee, which features a representative from each franchise. The protocols and CBA extension will require a vote from all NHL players and the seal of approval from the league's Board of Governors.
Phase 3, which features the start of training camps, was originally scheduled to begin on July 10. However, the league pushed the date back until at least July 13 in order for the two sides to come to an agreement about both the protocols for the rest of the return-to-play plan and the CBA extension.
According to a document ESPN obtained, "all individuals shall maintain physical distancing (a minimum of 6-foot distance) at all times throughout Phase 4, to the extent possible." Players will also be expected to wear face masks except when they're exercising. Coaches don't have to wear face masks while on the bench.
Once the league does return, it's expected that teams will head to their respective hub cities around July 25 or 26 and games could begin as early as Aug. 1. The NHL is yet to announce the location of the hub cities yet, but it's being reported that Eastern Conference teams will be in Toronto while Western Conference teams will play in Edmonton.
Players will still have the option to opt out of playing in the postseason tournament and no player will be penalized for doing so. There is a 5 p.m. ET deadline on Tuesday for players to inform the league if they're planning on not participating in the tournament.