By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
The National Hockey League took yet another step forward towards a potential return over the weekend, as a league memo sent out to the 31 teams outlined the details and timeline of an expected move into Phase 2 of their four-phase return-to-play plan.
“Based on the current information available, we are now targeting a date in early June for a transition to Phase 2,” the league, which has been in its Phase 1 self-quarantine period since Mar. 13, said in the memo. “However, it has not yet been determined when precisely Phase 2 will start or how long it may last. We are continuing to monitor developments in each of the Club’s markets, and may adjust the overall timing if appropriate, following discussion with all relevant parties.”
Phase 2, of course, is a return to small-group, voluntary workouts held at team facilities.
In Phase 2, coaches and staff members will not be allowed on the ice with the players, and groups will be limited to six skaters and held without any sort of contact. For the Bruins, that would mean a return to Brighton’s Warrior Ice Arena, which has been closed since Mar. 13, as well as the team’s weight room.
But the lack of coaches and skater limitations are far from the only rules that come with Phase 2.
Players must be tested 48 hours prior to returning to the team facilities, and players will have to do daily temperature checks at home before making their way to the facility. Any player with a temperature over 99.5° F will not be allowed into the facility, according to the memo. Players must wear masks when off the ice and not exercising.
When it comes to off-ice staff members, coaches can watch from the facility, but are not allowed to have any face-to-face interaction with the players, and any trainers on site must wear gloves at all times.
Any team caught in violation of these rules will be subject to fines or loss of draft picks.
Prior to this memo’s circulation, the NHL and NHLPA had agreed to move with a 24-team playoff format for 2020, while the league itself is looking at eight to nine cities as possible ‘hub cities’ for postseason play.