The National Hockey League reported some good news with the announcement that it had reach Phase 4 of its Return to Play policy. This came after there were no new positive cases of the coronavirus from any of the league’s 800 players.
The league conducted a total of 4,256 cases to these players in the week period from July 18-25. The full two week period of Phase 3 did include two positive tests from a total of 6,874 total tests. These figures come from an official statement made by the NHL.Read More »
This comes after players had begun training camps on July 10th to kickoff stage 3. These training camps were run in each team’s home city. Now that the NHL has moved to Stage 4, the next step is for games to begin on August 1st. These games will be qualifying matches for the Stanley Cup Tournament with playoff seeds on the line. The league hopes it hosts the Stanley Cup Finals near the end of September and through early October. Six players have already opted out from these games this season.
Like both the NBA and MLB, the NHL was forced to put its season on hold in early March after the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. The decision to use this specific plan was agreed upon on May 22 and like these other leagues that have already resumed, there will be no fans present in the stands. One of the major obstacles, however, is that the two cities in which play will resume are both in Canada. However, the league has been cleared by the government to follow through with its plan.
Of course, the league will be monitoring how successful both the NBA and MLB are in their own efforts to safely resume play. NBA players are all in a bubble in Orlando, Florida preparing for the beginning of the season, while MLB players are still traveling to each city without fans in the stands. However, the MLB has already been hit with its first setback as one of its teams, the Miami Marlins, saw more than half a dozen players receive positive tests for the virus. The NHL’s plan is somewhat of a middle approach in limiting play to two cities, so things will be heavily scrutinized in both locations.
All in all, sports fans eagerly await what will be a strange month of August that will hopefully be full of comebacks and riveting games to help people pass the time while they are sitting inside.