After four months to the day the NHL announced its pause on the 2019-20 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Calgary Flames returned to the ice for training camp Monday.
The return to full-team practices is part of Phase 3 of the NHL’s return-to-play protocol.
While the on-ice part comes naturally for the players, going to and from the rink is anything but.
Players continue to go through temperature checks and must wear a mask unless they’re on the ice.
“In the locker room, we’re very, very strict,” said Matthew Tkachuk.
“Try to social distance as much as we can, spread out in a few different locker rooms and try to be smart as much as we can right now because when we get to Edmonton, we’re all healthy and ready to go.”
Thirty-five players are vying for 31 roster spots, making up the team that will travel to Edmonton for the start of the play-in round on Aug. 1.
Interim coach Geoff Ward was pleased with the tempo during the first practice.
“After a long layoff, it was a good day for us,” he said.
Twenty-four players were on the ice for the morning practice while nine took part in the afternoon.
Forwards Dillon Dube and Buddy Robinson did not participate in practices on Monday.
Training camp wraps up July 24.