While the work to finalize a CBA extension remains ongoing, it appears at least part of the final package to be voted on by the players has been completed. TSN’s Bob McKenzie reports (Twitter thread) that the NHL and NHLPA have completed a 40-page document that will constitute the Return to Play protocols for the final two stages – training camp and the play-in round/postseason. Some of the details are as follows, courtesy of McKenzie unless otherwise noted:
- Rosters will be limited to 30 skaters for Phase 3 with unlimited goalies. Only those that are eligible to play this season can be on the roster. Teams will be permitted to bring a maximum of 52 people to the hub cities, per Renaud Lavoie of TVA Sports on Twitter. Of that group, there must be at least 31 players and three coaches.
- Players can opt out without any penalty but must notify his club in writing no later than 4 PM CT on Tuesday.
- All club personnel will be tested 48 hours before they are permitted to return to club facilities. Once done, they will be tested every other day for the duration of their team’s games.
- Players that are determined to be at a substantial risk of developing a serious illness if exposed to the coronavirus will be ruled unfit to play. However, the player can request a second opinion if they so desire.
- Clubs will not be permitted to make announcements regarding the positive test of a player or team member without prior approval from the league in conjunction with the NHLPA.
- Players who leave Stage 4 (the play-in round, round robin for the top four teams in each conference, and the playoffs) without approval will be subject to consequences up to and including removal which would constitute a disqualification for the player, notes Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman (Twitter link). Clubs can also be penalized if this happens in the form of fines and/or forfeiture of draft picks.
- Players who leave with approval will be forced to quarantine and will need to clear four tests within a four-day period to return, reports TSN’s Frank Seravalli (Twitter link).
- Families will be permitted to join the players once the Conference Finals are reached, Seravalli adds in a separate tweet.
- There are clauses in the agreement with regards to what would be required to postpone or cancel the remaining phases, termed as circumstances that would “likely create a material risk to Player health and safety and/or jeopardize the integrity of the competition”, Friedman adds in another Twitter thread.
As this will be voted on as a package along with a Memorandum of Understanding for a new CBA, it’s possible that the opt-out date will be extended but as things stand, players won’t have much time to make a decision on whether or not to participate. That should certainly make for a few interesting days ahead.