Mark your calendars - we could be just weeks away.
The 2019-2020 NHL season is set to resume this month, per multiple reports, beginning with the playoff qualifying round on July 30th. This information along with much more was released on Wednesday night in various summaries of the CBA MOU between the NHL and NHLPA.
According to TSN's Frank Seravalli, here is the likely schedule for the league as it looks to make a comeback three months in the making:
- July 24: Teams travel to hub cities
- July 25: Exhibition games begin
- July 30: Qualifying round begins
- Aug. 9: First round of playoffs begin
- Aug. 23: Second round of playoffs begin
- Sept. 6: Conference Finals begin
- Sept. 20: Stanley Cup Final begins
- Oct. 2: Last possible game of the Stanley Cup Finals
As is the same for every plan for every sport going on right now, all of these dates are subject to change and might be even likely, according to Seravalli, who says "it lists July 10 as the start of training camps. But we aren't anticipating them to open until July 13."
In addition, (if there were any doubts) it is confirmed that Toronto and Edmonton are the hub cities to continue the 2019-2020 season, says Bob McKenzie of TSN. Furthermore, the Eastern teams will play in Toronto and the Western teams will play in Edmonton, and the Conference Finals and Stanley Cup Final will be in one location for those remaining four teams, but that location is to be determined.
Another interesting note from Seravalli is information regarding players who choose to opt-out of the NHL season resumption, a decision that has become growingly popular in other sports, specifically the NBA. According to Seravalli, the MOU states "if players opting-out on a league-wide or club-wide basis "materially impacts the integrity" of the Return To Play plan, then the two sides may meet to determine whether to continue with the restart."
In short, if all the good players start dropping out, the season may not happen.
Curious about how an October Stanley Cup Final would impact the start of the 2020-2021 NHL season (that's still going to happen (hopefully), remember)? Seravalli states that either after Oct. 9 or seven days after Stanley Cup Final is concluded is when the opening of free agency will begin, followed by training camps on Nov. 17, and finally, the season beginning on Dec. 1.
Once again, yes, subject to change is all of this information. But it's nice to have some clarity, eh?
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