Last week, the NHL revealed the details of its return to play plan and how the postseason will work. Now, details on player safety are becoming more clear. On Sunday, the Associated Press reported that the league will be testing players for the coronavirus on a daily basis if play resumes.
The NHL is expected to enter Phase 2 in early June, which will include voluntary workouts at team facilities. Teams have screening plans in place for those camps. But if we get an NHL postseason, players will be tested every day, according to Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly.
"We will have a rigorous daily testing protocol where players are tested every evening and those results are obtained before they would leave their hotel rooms the next morning, so we'll know if we have a positive test and whether the player has to self-quarantine himself as a result of that positive test," Daly told the AP. "It's expensive, but we think it's really a foundational element of what we're trying to accomplish."
If the NHL does have a player test positive for COVID-19, Daly doesn't believes that it necessarily means that the league will have to halt play. Testing throughout the entire league would allow the isolation of a player that contracts the coronavirus and prevent the disease being further spread.
Commissioner Gary Bettman has estimated that between 25,000 and 35,000 tests will be needed over the course of the playoffs, according to the AP. Each test has a $125 price tag. As far as NHL Players' Association executive director Don Fehr is concerned, if that is the cost of players staying safe, the league has to do it.
"You need testing at a level sufficient to be confident that you're going to be on top of anything which might happen," NHL Players' Association executive director Don Fehr added. "If that turns out to be daily, and that's available, that's OK. That would be good. If it turns out that that's not quite what we need and we can get by with a little less, that's okay."
Several NHL players, including superstar Connor McDavid, are on board with a daily testing process once league play does resume.
"I think you have to get tested in a time like this, and you want to get tested as frequently as you can to catch it right away," McDavid said.