After months of speculation amid the COVID-19 stoppage, the NHL and NHLPA have reached a tentative agreement to return to the ice.
The NHL and NHLPA have reached a memorandum of understanding on a return to play plan and a CBA that adds four years to the current agreement. This is now subject to approval by both parties: https://t.co/YsqsiiIrkW pic.twitter.com/8QQT4SgLRK— NHLPA (@NHLPA) July 6, 2020
In a joint statement, it was announced that the agreement - once signed off upon by the NHL Board of Governors, the NHLPA’s Executive Board, and full membership - will see formal NHL training camps begin on July 13th, with teams travelling to their respective hub cities on July 26th, and the puck finally dropping once again on August 1st. The review process will be conducted over the next few days.
The deal also contains a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), that will extend the current CBA for another four years, preventing yet another potential lockout for the time being.
The last NHL contest was played on March 11th, when the Los Angeles Kings defeated the visiting Ottawa Senators by a score of 3-2. The season was postponed the following day, amid rising COVID-19 fears across North America, and in the wake of an outbreak within the NBA.
There is still, of course, the potential that the playoffs could be called off if the virus spreads rampant among the league. At the time of this writing, 35 NHL players and staff members have tested positive for the virus, and the league has administered almost 3000 tests. Hopefully they can halt those numbers where they are, and keep testing at a high level going into the postseason.