Today the NHL announced its protocol for off-season training, which will come into effect following the 2020 Stanley Cup Final.

As per Chris Johnston of Sportsnet, NHL teams can have a maximum of 12 players on the ice, and can open their training facilities as of October 15th. The protocol will follow the same guidelines put in place during the the phase 2 of Return to Play Plan for the 2019-20 season. Voluntary workouts/skating can happen on the ice, but with a max of 12 players at one time. For an NHL team to open their training facility, they must have at least 5 player notifying them that they wish to come in to skate or workout, as Renaud Lavoie of TVA Sports pointed out.

The protocol was agreed on by the NHL/NHLPA, as well as infectious disease experts who gave their input on how players could get ready for the upcoming season, while following COVID-19 guidelines to reduce the risk of exposure to themselves.

As of now, the NHL has no dates in mind for when 2020-21 training camps will open, or when the regular season will begin. Last week during his yearly State of the League address, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman mentioned that the tentative start date of December 1st could possibly slip later into December, or possibly January. But the plan to play a full 82 games season is still expected to happen, even if they have to play into June or possibly July.

After the Stanley Cup Final, the NHL has two big events scheduled in a four-day span. The 2020 NHL draft will begin with round one on October 6th, rounds two through seven on October 7th, and free agency will open at 12pm ET on October 9th.

While the 2019-20 season is winding down, with the Stanley Cup to be handed out within the next six days, everyone's attention will shift to the off-season and what each team plans to do. With many high profile free agents available, and one of the deepest drafts in quite a while, the week of October 5th should be a good one for hockey fans.

Source: NHL
SEPTEMBER 24, 2020  (16H31)