- The NHL is returning after the stop of the 2019-20 regular season on March 12.
- In the last week of COVID-19 testing, there were no positives and now players and staff will be tested every day.
- The playoffs will begin on Saturday with a 12 game format that includes best of 8 and round-robin games and the winner of the Stanley Cup should be awarded in October
TORONTO – The NHL is the next league to return to play after coronavirus shutdowns with Stanley Cup Qualifiers starting on Saturday.
The league halted the regular season due to the COVID-19 pandemic concerns on March 12 with 189 games left to be completed.
Though the season could not be completed, NHL and NHL Player’s Association decided to finish the season with a playoff to give teams the chance of winning the Stanley Cup.
The format of the playoffs allowed for 12 teams from the Eastern and Western conferenced who qualified from the point percentages from when the regular season shutdown.
All games of this 24-team playoff will be held in Toronto and Edmonton and heath protocols will be in place. There will be testing systems in each city and teams are only a maximum of 52 traveling personnel.
“I want to make clear that the health and safety of our players, coaches, essential support staff and our communities are paramount,” said Gary Bettman, the NHL commissioner.
The NHL’s Phase 3 of the 4 Phase return-to-play plan ended on July 25 and no test came back positive. The league provided 4,256 COVID-19 test to over 800 players from July 18 – July 25 during training camp.
NHL statement on COVID-19 testing results: pic.twitter.com/5dObzonFWA
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) July 27, 2020
Now that Phase 4 has begun, all 52 players and staff of the 24 teams will be tested on a daily basis. All games will be played behind closed doors and, similar to the NBA’s return, will not have to worry about constant traveling.
Fans, players, coaches, and staff of the National Hockey League are excited to see the return of NHL play and a chance to see a finish the start to the 2019-2020 season.
The playoff tournament will begin on Saturday with Stanly Cup Qualifiers. The Qualifiers features 16 teams that will play eight best-of-5 series along with a round-robin for the top four teams of each conference.
Currently, the plan is to award the 2020 Stanley Cup during the first week of October.
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