By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
The National Hockey League's latest update on COVID-19 testing in Phase 2 has come with the confirmation of four more positive tests involving players who have returned to team facilities as part of Phase 2, bringing the total count up to 15.
"As of Monday, June 29, the NHL has had in excess of 250 players report to club training/practice facilities for optional participation in Phase 2 activities," the NHL's statement began. "There have been in excess of 1,450 COVID-19 tests administered to this group of Players. Those tests have resulted in a total of 15 players returning confirmed positive test results for COVID-19."
This a four-player increase from the league's first testing update, which came on June 19, and in the wake of the Lightning closing their training facility and the Maple Leafs' Auston Matthews testing positive in Arizona. The good news for the NHL is that there hasn't been another team forced to close its doors due to a COVID-19 outbreak since the Bolts' shutdown, and four positive tests seems like a plus compared to recent numbers from the NBA and NFL.
But the league also noted that this phase, which allows players to participate in optional small-group skates and training, has come with 11 additional positive tests involving players who have yet to report back to their NHL city.
"In addition, since June 8 (the opening of Phase 2), the league is aware of 11 additional players who have tested positive for COVID-19 outside of the Phase 2 protocol," the NHL acknowledged. "All Players who have tested positive have been self-isolated and are following CDC and Health Canada protocols."
The NHL, which still needs to lock down its two hub city locations, is currently planning to move into Phase 3 on July 10.