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The National Hockey League announced on Saturday that the target date for when the Vancouver Canucks will be allowed to return to playing games is set for April 16. This news comes a couple of days after the number of players and coaches on the COVID protocol list for the team had grown to 25.

The Canucks have had eight games between March 31 and April 14 postponed. They'll be allowed to return to their facilities for practice beginning on Sunday, and are scheduled to finish their season by the new end date of May 16.

"The Canucks' organization has, and will continue to follow, all recommended guidelines aimed at protecting the health and safety of its Players, staff and community at large as set by the NHL, local, provincial and federal agencies," the league said.

The league also noted in the release that as a result of these COVID-related postponements that have happened to Vancouver, the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the three divisions in the United States -- the East, Central and West divisions -- could start a few days earlier than the playoffs for the North, or Canadian, division.

The last time the Canucks played a game was on March 24, a 4-1 loss to the Winnipeg Jets. Things began to snowball at the end of March when Adam Gaudette tested positive for COVID.