The National Hockey League announced Thursday night that it will be moving into Phase 2 of its plan to potentially resume its season amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic that shut down play in March.
“Beginning June 8 — subject to each club’s satisfaction of all of the requirements set out in the Phase 2 protocol — clubs will be permitted to reopen their training facilities in their home city to allow players to participate in individualized training activities (off-ice and on-ice),” the league said in a news release.
“Players will be participating on a voluntary basis and will be scheduled to small groups.”
The NHL said those small groups would be comprised of a maximum of six players at any given time, along with a “limited number of club staff.”
“The various measures set out in the Phase 2 protocol are intended to provide players with a safe and controlled environment in which to resume their conditioning,” the league said. “Phase 2 is not a substitute for training camp.
“All necessary preparations for Phase 2, including those that require player participation (education, diagnostic testing, scheduling for medicals, etc.), can begin immediately.”
The league said that it continues to negotiate with the players’ union to try and come up with an agreement about how to potentially resume play.
The NHL and the NHLPA continue to negotiate over an agreement on the resumption of play.
Earlier on Thursday, the NHL announced the final details of a 24-team playoff format that will be used if it resumes play this season.
If NHL play resumes this season, the league plans to have games played in two hub cities. Three Canadian cities are among those being considered as a hub: Edmonton, Toronto and Vancouver.
–With files from The Associated Press