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Friday night the NHL and the NHLPA announced that the parties had ratified the NHL Return to Play Plan and the CBA extension through the 2025/2026 season. The existing CBA was scheduled to expire on Sept. 15, 2022. The new deal will expire on Sept. 15, 2026.

Completing the extension of the CBA ensures labor peace for teams, players, and fans for six seasons following this one. Included in the CBA extension was an agreement on International play that will see the League and Union participate in the upcoming 2022 Beijing Olympics and the 2026 Milan Olympics contingent on agreement from the IIHF and IOC.

Some highlights of the new CBA were discussed in our previous article. Among the topics highlighted are Salary Cap Limits, Escrow, Movement Clauses, Entry Level Contracts, Minimum Salary, Olympics participation, Free Agency among others.To avoid repeating the same information I’ll just provide a link here: https://monkeyopolis.com/nhl-news-july-8-2020/


Puckpedia.com has an article covering some of the interesting key changes in some detail. https://puckpedia.com/PPCBA


If you would like to read the entirety of the NHL and NHLPA MOU the NHL has a publicly available pdf available here: NHL/NHLPA MOU (link)

They also have an easier to navigate: CBA and Return to Play FAQ (link)

Both documents are well worth the read as there is quite a bit of information and detail covered.


For those wondering about media access

How will media access be conducted during the Stanley Cup Qualifiers and Stanley Cup Playoffs?

During Phase 4, all media access to Players and Club personnel inside the Secure Zone will be conducted through virtual means. NHL staff will assist all Clubs in facilitating this media access. More details can be found in the Phase 4 Media Policy starting on Page 27 of the Phase 4 Protocol.

Will media have access to the arena?

A limited number of media will be granted access to watch Phase 4 games in person. Only media who are granted permission to attend the Secure Zone will be given access to the Secure Zone, and allowed to enter the arena to watch Phase 4 games in person.

What type of access will media have to players and coaches?

There will be no direct access to coaches or players (or team management). All coach and player availability in Phase 4 will be virtual and coordinated by the NHL. A daily schedule of these availabilities will be posted to the League’s media site, with links available only to registered users. Media who attend the Phase 4 games in person will have no greater access to Players and Club personnel than media who remain in Club’s home markets and connect to NHL virtual interviews and press conferences. Media in the Secure Zone will have no personal access to Players and Club personnel away from the host arenas and will not be permitted to be present in the Secure Zone other than to attend games.

How do media apply for access to the Phase 4 Secure Zone?

Media will be required to apply for admission to the Phase 4 Secure Zone, and shall submit their request for admission to the NHL. Details of this process will be released in the coming days.


Will the Phase 4 Protocol apply to media within the Secure Zone?

Media who are granted admission to the Secure Zone will be required to comply with all requirements in the Phase 4 Protocol, with further details noted on Page 27.


Will there be post-game press conferences?
Coaches and select players from each team will be available via Zoom after each game, with video and audio links posted to the League’s media site upon completion. Links to Zoom calls also will be posted to the League’s media site for registered users only.


Will coaches and players be available on off-days and practice days?
Yes. Coaches and select players from each team will be available via Zoom.
Will media have access to the host hotels? Media, including those with Secure Zone access for games, will not be permitted to be on the property of
the host hotels. More information about access to areas within the Secure Zone is noted on Page 27 of the Protocol.


Will the League arrange transportation and hotels for media?
The League will not be providing transportation to/from games or practices. Designated pick-up and dropoff areas at the perimeter of the Secure Zone will be identified for purposes of media coordinating with car transportation services.
The League will not be designating media hotels. Media will need to make their own arrangements for hotel reservations, outside of the Secure Zone.

NHL.com – NHL Return to Play and CBA FAQ

About the Broadcasts

How will broadcast work?

NBC will produce a world feed from Toronto, while Sportsnet will produce a world feed from Edmonton. A complete broadcast schedule will be released in the coming days.


Will announcers call games on-site?

National rights holders talent will be permitted on-site for select games.


Will player and coach interviews occur pre-game, in-game and post-game?

Yes, interviews will happen virtually.


What can fans expect to see and hear on broadcasts?

Specifics regarding the “look and feel” of television broadcasts will be unveiled at a later date.


Will exhibition games be broadcast?

Yes. The League will make all exhibition games available for broadcast, with specific details to be provided in the near future

NHL.com – NHL Return to Play and CBA FAQ

Handling of Positive Tests

How will the League handle positive tests within the Secure Zone?

Protocol for symptomatic individuals or a positive test result is described in detail beginning on Page 12 of the Protocol. A summary of that information is below:

If an individual from Groups 1-5 tests positive and/or develops symptoms of COVID-19, the person will
isolate immediately pending confirmation and contact tracing will begin. Next steps will be as follows


Asymptomatic persons
o Confirmatory nasopharyngeal RT-PCR test by an independent health care provider;
o If the confirmatory test is positive, the case will be considered confirmed positive and the person shall be required to isolate until medical clearance is obtained.
o If the confirmatory test is negative, the person shall remain in isolation and be retested after 24 hours with a nasopharyngeal RT-PCR test by an independent health care provider. If such test results remain negative, the person shall be permitted to exit isolation and may return to full participation in activities once cleared.


Symptomatic persons
o A positive test of a person who exhibits symptoms of COVID-19 shall not be subject to further confirmatory testing and their COVID-19 positive status will be confirmed if, in the opinion of the physician(s), there is no basis to doubt the COVID-19 positive status.

A person whose COVID-19 positive status has been confirmed shall remain in isolation, shall not
exercise, and shall not participate in any Club/business activity or have any contact (other than remotely with any other personnel for the duration of their isolation. During such period, the person shall be in daily contact with and receive remote care as considered appropriate.

If a Player is diagnosed with a confirmed positive test for COVID-19, he will be designated as “unfit to
play” and his condition shall be treated as a hockey related injury for the purposes of the CBA unless
otherwise categorized on Page 14 of the Protocol.

The isolation period will remain in effect until conditions have been satisfied as outlined on Page 13 of the Protocol.

Upon completion of the isolation period, Players shall receive cardiac testing as described on Page 14 of the Protocol. All Players must be cleared as “fit to play” by a cardiologist and team physician before
returning to game activity.

Will individuals who test positive for COVID-19 be further tested after isolation is complete?

If an individual has a confirmed positive finding for COVID-19 and thereafter has been cleared to return to play/work, ongoing screening with PCR testing is unnecessary, as PCR-based testing results may remain positive for a prolonged period after resolution of symptoms, with unknown significance. More information on this matter is found on Page 15 of the Protocol.


When is isolation deemed complete for those who test positive for COVID-19?

A person who has been confirmed positive for COVID-19 shall remain in isolation until the conditions
have been satisfied as outlined on Page 13 of the Protocol.


How often will the League announce test results?

The NHL is in discussion with the NHLPA on this matter and will provide more information prior to the
start of Phase 4.


Will games be postponed, delayed, moved or canceled due to COVID-19 test results?

A decision to postpone, delay, move or cancel any game shall be made by the Commissioner after
consultation with the Executive Director of the NHLPA, as described on Page 26 of the Protocol

NHL.com – NHL Return to Play and CBA FAQ

The Secure Zone “The Bubble”

What is the Phase 4 Secure Zone and how does it work?

In order to maintain the safety of all individuals participating in Phase 4 and to mitigate the incremental risk associated with the introduction of persons not essential to its execution, the NHL has created a Phase 4 Secure Zone, consisting of defined boundaries within which are hotel(s), dining destinations, the arena, the practice facility(ies), and other demarcated areas (indoor and outdoor).


Individuals who are neither working within the Secure Zone, nor staying at a hotel within the Secure Zone, will not be permitted to enter the Secure Zone, except in the limited circumstances specified in the Protocol. Details about the Secure Zone in each hub city begin on Page 7 of the Protocol.
The League will provide Phase 4 Secure Zone boundary maps prior to start of Phase 4.

Will participants be allowed to leave the Phase 4 Secure Zone?

It is the expectation that all participants staying at a Secure Zone hotel will remain on-site at all times throughout Phase 4. Exceptions for medical and extenuating circumstances are outlined on Page 7 of the Protocol.


Can a participant return to the Secure Zone?

Individuals who are staying at a Secure Zone hotel and who leave the Secure Zone may be subject to consequences, including nasopharyngeal swab testing, strict quarantine for up to 14 days, refusal of access and, in the most serious cases, dismissal from responsibilities during Phase 4. More information on this matter is available on Page 8 of the Protocol.


Will individuals residing outside the Secure Zone be allowed entry?

During Phase 4, certain individuals, including hotel and arena personnel (i.e., Groups 3, 4, & 5), will be working within the Secure Zone but not staying at a Secure Zone hotel. For the safety of those who will be within the Secure Zone, those individuals will have limited access rights to Groups 1 and 2. These individuals must meet certain conditions of entry described on Page 8 of the Protocol.

NHL.com – NHL Return to Play and CBA FAQ

Travelling Party

How many people from each Club will be on site in the hub city?

Each Club will be permitted to bring a maximum of 51 persons to the Secure Zone in its “Traveling Party,” inclusive of Club ownership, Players, Coaches, Club executives, Club staff, and all other Club personnel (52 if a security representative is included). Clubs are not permitted to have more than 51 individuals onsite in the Secure Zone (52 with security).


Who will be part of the Club Traveling Party?

The Club Traveling Party must include at least the following individuals:
• A roster of no more than 31 Players;
• Three Coaches;
• Two Club Athletic Trainers;
• One Equipment Manager;
• One Massage Therapist;
• One ART Therapist/Chiropractor;
• One Communications/PR individual;
• One Content Creator/Social Media individual;
• One representative to serve as the Club Compliance Officer.
Can anyone join the Club after the start of Phase 4?
Each Club will be required to submit its list of individuals in the Traveling Party no later than July 13. All individuals will be subject to the pre-departure testing requirement set forth in the Protocol.

NHL.com – NHL Return to Play and CBA FAQ

Where the word protocol appears in the above quotes links out to the NHL’s: Link – “Phased Return To Sport Protocol – Phase 4 Secure Zone” document.


Stanley Cup Playoff Qualification Schedule

QUALIFICATION ROUNDS BY SERIES

EASTERN CONFERENCE (Scotiabank Arena, Toronto)
*Home team listed second *TV information will be announced at a later date

Start Times

The start times for the 10 days of Stanley Cup Qualifiers in Toronto (Eastern Conference games) will be: 12 p.m., 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. EST.

The start times for the three-game windows in Edmonton (Western Conference games) – 2 p.m. EST, 6:30 p.m. ET and 10:30 p.m. EST – may fluctuate by up to 30 minutes during the qualifying round.

(5) Pittsburgh Penguins vs. (12) Montreal Canadiens

Saturday, Aug. 1: Canadiens vs. Penguins
Monday, Aug. 3: Canadiens vs. Penguins
Wednesday, Aug. 5: Penguins vs. Canadiens
Friday, Aug. 7: Penguins vs. Canadiens*
Saturday, Aug. 8: Canadiens vs. Penguins*

(6) Carolina Hurricanes vs. (11) New York Rangers

Saturday, Aug. 1: Rangers vs. Hurricanes
Monday, Aug. 3: Rangers vs. Hurricanes
Tuesday, Aug. 4: Hurricanes vs. Rangers
Thursday, Aug. 6: Hurricanes vs. Rangers*
Saturday, Aug. 8: Rangers vs. Hurricanes*

(7) New York Islanders vs. (10) Florida Panthers

Saturday, Aug. 1: Panthers vs. Islanders
Tuesday, Aug. 4: Panthers vs. Islanders
Wednesday, Aug. 5: Islanders vs. Panthers
Friday, Aug. 7: Islanders vs. Panthers*
Sunday, Aug. 9: Panthers vs. Islanders*

(8) Toronto Maple Leafs vs. (9) Columbus Blue Jackets

Sunday, Aug. 2: Blue Jackets vs. Maple Leafs
Tuesday, Aug. 4: Blue Jackets vs. Maple Leafs
Thursday, Aug. 6: Maple Leafs vs. Blue Jackets
Friday, Aug. 7: Maple Leafs vs. Blue Jackets*
Sunday, Aug. 9: Blue Jackets vs. Maple Leafs*

Round-robin Series

Sunday, Aug. 2: Flyers vs. Bruins
Monday, Aug. 3: Capitals vs. Lightning
Wednesday, Aug. 5: Lightning vs. Bruins
Thursday, Aug. 6: Capitals vs. Flyers
Saturday, Aug. 8: Bruins vs. Capitals
Sunday, Aug. 9: Flyers vs. Lightning


WESTERN CONFERENCE (Rogers Place, Edmonton)


(5) Edmonton Oilers vs. (12) Chicago Blackhawks

Saturday, Aug. 1: Blackhawks vs. Oilers
Monday, Aug. 3: Blackhawks vs. Oilers
Wednesday, Aug. 5: Oilers vs. Blackhawks
Friday, Aug. 7: Oilers vs. Blackhawks*
Saturday, Aug. 8: Blackhawks vs. Oilers*

(6) Nashville Predators vs. (11) Arizona Coyotes

Sunday, Aug. 2: Coyotes vs. Predators
Tuesday, Aug. 4: Coyotes vs. Predators
Wednesday, Aug. 5: Predators vs. Coyotes
Friday, Aug. 7: Predators vs. Coyotes*
Sunday, Aug. 9: Coyotes vs. Predators*

(7) Vancouver Canucks vs. (10) Minnesota Wild

Sunday, Aug. 2: Wild vs. Canucks
Tuesday, Aug. 4: Wild vs. Canucks
Thursday, Aug. 6: Canucks vs. Wild
Friday, Aug. 7: Canucks vs. Wild*
Sunday, Aug. 9: Wild vs. Canucks*

(8) Calgary Flames vs. (9) Winnipeg Jets

Saturday, Aug. 1: Jets vs. Flames
Monday, Aug. 3: Jets vs. Flames
Tuedsay, Aug. 4: Flames vs. Jets
Thursday, Aug. 6: Flames vs. Jets*
Saturday, Aug. 8: Jets vs. Flames*

Round-robin Series

Sunday, Aug. 2: Blues vs. Avalanche
Monday, Aug. 3: Stars vs. Golden Knights
Wednesday, Aug. 5: Avalanche vs. Stars
Thursday, Aug. 6: Golden Knights vs. Blues
Saturday, Aug. 8: Golden Knights vs. Avalanche
Sunday, Aug. 9: Stars vs. Blues

  • – if necessary