We received some of the best hockey news in a long time today when the NHL and NHLPA announced that training camps for the 24 playoff-bound teams will begin on July 10.
Currently, the NHL is in Phase 2 of their plan to return to play. This phase allows for voluntary workouts at team facilities, providing players remain in small groups and follow the guidelines laid out by the league. Opening training camps would move the league into Phase 3 of their plan. Phase 4 would be the season officially resuming.
With teams preparing to open training camps on July 10, it’s speculated that we will see the season officially resume in late July or early August. The 24-team postseason would then last another couple months, leading to an off-season beginning around October.
When the NHL does move forward with the season, remaining games will be played in two hub cities. Currently there are 10 different locations being considered, according to commissioner Gary Bettman. Those locations include Chicago, Columbus, Dallas, Edmonton, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Pittsburgh, Toronto, and Vancouver.
There is one caveat to keep in mind with returning to play, however. Training camps will only begin if circumstances surrounding the coronavirus pandemic allow it. With the recent uptick in cases reported in several states, we will have to wait to be absolutely sure our beloved sport is returning.