When NHL commissioner Gary Bettman announced the league's 24-team model to crown a Stanley Cup champion amid the coronavirus pandemic on Tuesday, he made it clear fans shouldn't expect to see live hockey back on television until at least late July.
Even that may be overly optimistic.
On Thursday afternoon, Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman tweeted that players have been informed training camps won't begin until July 10 at the earliest:
Players informed today Phase III (training camps) won’t start before July 10.— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) May 28, 2020
While all dates and proposals are penciled-in on NHL calendars because of ever-changing situations regarding the virus outbreak and government guidelines and restrictions, it's reasonable to believe coaches, general managers, and players could want camps to last three weeks before they resume significant on-ice action, meaning the league could remain on hiatus until the weekend of August 1.
Bettman explained on Tuesday that the Stanley Cup Final may finish after summer officially ends.
The league suspended play on March 12 because of the pandemic. When contests resume, all round-robin playoff seeding, play-in, and postseason games will occur in one of two hub cities that haven't yet been announced by the NHL and NHL Players' Association.
It's believed all games will occur behind closed doors and without fans in attendance.