Normally on July 1st, we’d be breaking down all of the free agent transactions from across the leagues. We’d be debating the best and worst deals, re-calibrating our expectations for the next season as rosters were shaken up. This is, of course, no normal year. Instead, July 1st brought with it some news about the NHL potentially resuming its season in late July — which is a sentence I hope to never have to write again.
- There have been several reports in recent days that the NHL and the NHLPA were closing in on a deal to resume the 2019-20 season. Early Wednesday, news broke that a deal is essentially done barring any unexpected last minute hurdles and will include a multi-year extension of the CBA. The major breakthroughs include: an agreement by the NHL to play the bonuses that were owed on July 1st, the players agreeing to a cap frozen at 81.5M for next season that will be de-coupled from hockey-related revenue, and in exchange the NHL has seemingly agreed to a return to Olympic play in 2022 and 2026. There’s even more to it, so I strongly recommend giving the Frank Seravalli article I linked a read.
- Speaking of returning to play, it appears the NHL has settled on Toronto and Edmonton as the two Hub Cities. Las Vegas and Vancouver were long considered the front runners, but the league had to backtrack after failing to satisfy the public Health Authorities in BC and the number of COVID-19 cases in Nevada continued to spiral out of control. As Bob McKenzie explained, that meant Toronto and Edmonton won virtually by default.
- While the NHL nears a return to the ice, the work off the ice by the Hockey Diversity Alliance looks to be only just beginning. The Ottawa Senators’ Anthony Duclair is heavily involved, and Emily Kaplan had a recent interview with Matt Dumba that is worth checking out.
- Speaking of improving inclusiveness, Sean Shapiro had a lengthy conversation with five LGBTQ+ fans about how hockey could be a more inclusive sport over at The Athletic. Pride Month may have ended with June, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t more that can be done throughout the year. Making “Hockey for Everyone” will mean persistent year-round effort from everyone. If you doubted the need for that kind of push, I strongly suggest you read the stories of those five fans.
- Lastly, the NHL has pulled together a list of the best saves from the 2019-20 season and the Sens’ own Marcus Hogberg makes appearance. Take a look to remind yourself of we’re fans of this game:/