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Phase 3 and 4 of NHL's Return To Play plan gets tentative go-ahead

Scotiabank Arena will host many NHL playoff games after Toronto was named one of the two Hub Cities, along with Edmonton.
Scotiabank Arena will host many NHL playoff games after Toronto was named one of the two Hub Cities, along with Edmonton.

A part of the new collective bargaining agreement pertaining to the proposed playoff tournament has a tentative go-ahead.

Phase 3 and 4 of the Return To Play plan, with the resumption of training camps and the actual games, was basically settled Sunday night as marathon talks between the NHL and the players’ association going back to last week continue. A final vote of the full NHLPA is required when the full CBA document is presented.

The health and safety of players, COVID-19 testing and protocols within the quarantine bubbles in Toronto and Edmonton has understandably been a hot-button topic, with players wanting maximum protection for themselves and some kind of accommodation for their families if they choose to join them for part of the tourney, which could run weeks or months.

The players will be in specific hotels and aren’t supposed to go much beyond their rooms, the practice rink and main rink. There is also language that will allow players to opt out of the event.

The most vital part of the negotiation is for a multi-year CBA, which is nearing completion and could mean labour peace until the summer of 2026.

Once the CBA and the league’s playoff start-up plan are ratified, players will have a few days before the start of training camps to decide if they’ll participate, with no repercussions should they decline.

Chris Johnston of Sportsnet reported Sunday night that should a player test positive or develop symptoms in either Phase 3 and 4, teams are not permitted to share that information with the media or public, unless granted by the league, which must also consult with the union.

And when players are away from home during the tournament phase, team personnel will assist with grocery delivery and errands for their families.

lhornby@postmedia.com

Copyright Postmedia Network Inc., 2020

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