NHL Memo Details Phase 2 Protocols for Return to Play Amid COVID-19

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistMay 25, 2020

National Hockey League Commissioner Gary Bettman speaks to members of the media , Saturday, March 7, 2020, in Sunrise, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Wilfredo Lee/Associated Press

The NHL is close to Phase 2 of its plan to resume the 2019-20 season and will allow players to train at team facilities in the near future.

A memo sent to teams by the league office Monday said there is hope to begin Phase 2 in early June. Under the protocol, no more than six players will be allowed at team facilities at one time, and all on-ice drills must be conducted without coaches or other staff members.

"As we have stated repeatedly, the health of the Players and Club personnel is our top priority, and that will dictate how Phase 2, and any progression thereafter, may evolve," the memo reads. "We again emphasize that Player participation in Phase 2 is strictly voluntary. In addition, Clubs are not permitted to require Players to return to the Club's home city so they can complete a quarantine requirement in time to participate in Phase 2."

Teams are only allowed to hold workouts in their markets if approved by their local governments. Some areas of the U.S. and Canada remain under strict stay-at-home orders aimed at slowing the spread of the coronavirus.

The United States-Canada border also remains closed, which will complicate matters for Canadian and American players who could seek to return to their teams' cities across the border. The memo says players who do not maintain permanent residences in their markets will be provided with hotel accommodations when/if they return.

The NHL also requires players to undergo coronavirus testing and regular temperature checks in order to participate in Phase 2. If no testing is available, players are required to quarantine for 14 days prior to entering team facilities.