Hockey fans were ecstatic last week after hearing that an overwhelming majority of the NHL Players Association approved of the league's proposed 24-team playoff format. Now, the NHL is trending toward beginning Phase 2 of reopening.
The NHL and NHLPA sent out a 29-page memo to teams this past weekend to let everyone know that players can begin using team facilities in early June. Additionally, the league is targeting early July for the start of team training camps (Phase 3).
Under these guidelines, no more than six players will be allowed to work out on and off the ice, and drills must be conducted without the coaching staff present. When they're not exercising in the facilities, players are permitted to wear face coverings to prevent potential contamination. The NHL did stress that Phase 2 is "strictly voluntary" and that teams can't force their players to return to their cities.
The NHL and players union already agreed to the altered Stanley Cup Playoff, but they still have the job of finding hub cities. Reports indicated that the league is considering 2-4 locations, with Las Vegas being the heavy favorite. Other cities rumored to house NHL teams are Los Angeles and Columbus.
With this latest update, the NHL is another step closer to resuming. But there's still plenty for both sides to negotiate before the playoffs begin later this summer.