NHL News

Protocols set for NHL return in Edmonton, Toronto

The NHL and NHLPA have finalized the protocols for the season to resume this summer in Edmonton and Toronto, a source confirmed to ESPN.

As of Sunday night, the sides are still finalizing the details for a memorandum of understanding for a collective bargaining agreement extension.

The Phase 3 (training camp) and Phase 4 (24-team tournament) return to play protocols are detailed in a 40-page document. It will need to be approved by the NHLPA’s executive committee, which is one representative from all 31 teams. Once that is done, the entire package — both the return to play protocol, as well as the CBA extension — will go to a full membership vote of all NHL players. The NHL’s Board of Governors must also ratify the package.

The Associated Press first reported that the protocols have been finalized.

The NHL is now targeting a July 13 start date for training camps, sources told ESPN. If all goes according to plan, teams would travel to the hub cities on July 25 or July 26 and games will begin by August 1. The Eastern Conference teams will play in Toronto while the Western Conference teams will be in Edmonton.

The 24-team tournament will conclude with a Stanley Cup Finals in Edmonton, likely in early October.

The protocols include an agreement that no player will be penalized if he chooses to opt out, and he does not have to give a reason for wanting to opt-out, sources told ESPN. Players have until 5 p.m. ET on July 7 to notify their teams if they are opting out, sources say.

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