The NHL announced the Vancouver Canucks will resume team activities Sunday, pending COVID-19 test results Saturday, after an outbreak infected at least 20 players in recent weeks.
The league has rescheduled eight contests over the final month of the season, which will allow the team to complete a full 56-game season as originally planned.
NHL Public Relations @PR_NHL
The @NHL announced today that, pending today’s test results, the @Canucks will re-open their facilities for practice on April 11, with a return to game play on April 16.<br><br>Schedule changes impacting 15 games in the North Division also were announced: https://t.co/wSSqW13IiK pic.twitter.com/15ubK3Urvp
The Canucks will play their first game since March 24 on April 16 against the Edmonton Oilers at 9 p.m. ET.
As a result of the pause in Vancouver's season, the NHL has altered the schedule of 15 games within the league's North Division—comprised of only Canadian teams—in order to make a 56-game schedule feasible.
Per the NHL's statement:
"The Canucks' organization has, and will continue to follow, all recommended guidelines aimed at protecting the health and safety of its Players, staff and community at large as set by the NHL, local, provincial and federal agencies.
"The NHL will continue to assess the progression of the regular season before announcing definitive dates for the start of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. With the newly revised end date for the regular season for the North Division, it is possible that the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the East, Central and West Divisions could open a few days earlier than the North Division."
The regular season is currently slated to conclude May 16.
The top four teams in each division will play each other in the first two rounds of the playoffs to crown a division champion before facing a team from a rival division in the semifinal round to determine which teams advance to the Stanley Cup Final.
That group more than likely will not include the Canucks, who are 16-18-3 (35 points) and eight points back of the Montreal Canadiens for the fourth seed in the North Division.