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A Step Closer to Hockey: NHL Announces Opening Date for Formal Training Camps

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NHL and NHLPA announce camps can re-open on July 10th

NHL: DEC 14 Stars at Predators Photo by Danny Murphy/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

One of the biggest pieces missing from the NHL’s “Return to Play” puzzle appears to have fallen into place.

The NHL and NHLPA announced Thursday that formal training camps can re-open on July 10th, 29 days from today. This is Phase 3 of the NHL’s return to play plan, and will be the first time full teams will be allowed back on the ice together.

According to the release, the start of the camps will be contingent on whether “medical and safety conditions allow,” meaning as long as there are no major setbacks during Phase 2 of the NHL’s plan (which allows teams to resume training in small groups). One would also assume the worldwide progress in slowing the spread of COVID-19 would be a factor on whether this happens.

The two questions not addressed in the release are 1.) how long formal training camps will last, and 2.) when the Stanley Cup Playoffs will officially begin. The league says that information will be released at a later date. The consensus around the league is that camps will last somewhere between two and three weeks, meaning we’ll have to wait until the end of July or the start of August to see the Nashville Predators play an actual game.

The NHL has already allowed teams to resume training in small groups as part of Phase 2. Right now, the Nashville Predators haven’t publicly released any information about the team’s return to training. If they do return, they’ll be allowed to train (both on and off ice) at team facilities in groups of six. Those same groups of six will work out together until formal training camps re-open.

As with anything surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, this is still the best-case scenario. Despite a bevy of precautions teams have to take to return to training, there is still a risk of players, coaches, or staff contracting the coronavirus. While the NHL hasn’t outright said what will happen if there’s a sudden influx of positive tests, it’s a safe bet this timeline could be pushed back. Another concern is a recent spike in COVID-19 cases reported in some parts of the country, including Arizona, home to the Predators’ upcoming playoff opponent, the Coyotes.

For now, we’ll have to do what we’ve been doing for the past three months: Take care of ourselves, do what we personally can to prevent spreading the virus, and keep our fingers crossed we’ll get to experience some hockey soon.

Until then, stay safe all!