Following the NHL/NHLPA Return to Play Committee’s meeting this week, and in line with guidance provided by medical experts and national and local authorities, the league and player association have issued a statement regarding the continuing pause in the 2019-20 season:
Despite numerous reports and speculation over the last several days, they said, the NHL and the NHLPA have not made any decisions or set a timeline for possible return to play scenarios.
The joint statement read: “Given recent developments in some NHL clubs’ local communities, we are now looking ahead to a Phase 2 of the transition period that would follow the currently recommended Phase 1 period of ‘self-quarantine’ by players and hockey staff.”
The precise date of transition to Phase 2, during which players might return to small group activities in NHL club training facilities, remains undetermined. It added: “However, provided that conditions continue to trend favorably – and, subject to potential competitive concerns as between disparately situated markets – we believe we may be able to move to Phase 2 at some point in the mid-to-later portion of May.”
Specific guidelines governing player and hockey staff activity would be provided at that time. In the meantime, the league and its player association expect players and hockey staff to continue to adhere to the recommended guidelines put in place when the season was paused on March 12.