If and when the NHL season resumes, the league will have many different safety protocols in place, and many players have expressed their desire for the league to have COVID-19 testing available to all athletes and staff participating in the return to the ice.
It seems their request for testing won't be a problem, and NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said that athletes shouldn't worry about the testing side of things and that the league has it under control, as he told the Associated Press (via SportsNet):
“We will have a rigorous daily testing protocol where players are tested every evening and those results are obtained before they would leave their hotel rooms the next morning, so we’ll know if we have a positive test and whether the player has to self-quarantine himself as a result of that positive test. It’s expensive, but we think it’s really a foundational element of what we’re trying to accomplish.”
Each test costs about $125, and NHL commissioner Gary Bettman predicts the league will need between 25,000-35,000 tests to get them through the playoffs, which could cost millions of dollars.
The NHL announced its return-to-play plan last week, and that includes two hub cities hosting 24 teams in a rather interesting playoff format. While Bettman named 10 hub city finalists, things aren't set in stone. The top four teams from each conference will play for seeding, while the remainder of clubs will compete for a final spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs in what has been dubbed a "play-in" round.
While the NHL does have a plan in place, training camps won't start until at least July 10. If they resume on that date, it's likely we could see games being played as early as August. Players will need about a month to get back in shape, and plenty of small details will need to be ironed out before teams take the ice once again.
A majority of NHL clubs were very receptive to the idea of a 24-team playoff format, but the Tampa Bay Lightning and Carolina Hurricanes both voted against it, citing that it's "unfair," among other things. However, both teams still are excited they'll be getting back on the ice soon.
You'll receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams.
Emailed daily. Always FREE!