NHL Reportedly Sets Dates for Training Camps and Return of 2019-20 Season
By Scott Rogust
The NHL had quite the scare on Friday after Toronto Maple Leafs star Auston Matthews and five members of the Tampa Bay Lightning tested positive for the coronavirus. Even so, the NHL has no plans to delay the resumption of the 2019-20 season.
According to Larry Brooks of the New York Post, two-week training camps will begin across the league on July 10, with the beginning of the 24-team Stanley Cup Playoffs commencing on July 30.
Training camps will take place in team facilities, and each franchise will be allowed to carry 30 skaters and an unlimited number of goaltenders. Once the playoffs begin, teams' roster limits will be set at 28 players, but there will continue to be no goalie limit. Additionally, players on injured reserve will not take up roster spots.
Most importantly, COVID-19 testing will be conducted "every other day," per the latest reports, for everyone who enters a league facility.
After camp, squads will report to their respective hub cities between July 23 or 24. Shortly afterwards, one exhibition game will be played amongst teams before the start of the tournament. The two hub locations are still to be determined, but an official announcement is expected to come as soon as the coming week.
The 24-team tournament will consist of the top four teams in each conference participating in a round robin to determine seeding. Meanwhile, the remaining eight teams in the East and West will compete in a best-of-five qualifying round to clinch a spot in the official playoff.
Even with 11 out of 200 NHL players testing positive for COVID-19 since June 8, the league is moving forward with their return-to-play plan. Hockey's almost back, folks.