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Sports News

NHL eyes voluntary small group training in Phase 2

The NHL and NHL Players’ Association are targeting a date in early June for their transition to Phase 2 of their return to play initiative in a memo distributed to all teams and players late Sunday.

FILE PHOTO: Mar 1, 2020; Sunrise, Florida, USA; Florida Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad (5) battles for control of a loose puck with Calgary Flames center Derek Ryan (10) during the second period at BB&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

A specific date to begin Phase 2 was not released in the memo. The length of Phase 2 is still to be determined as the NHL attempts to resume the 2019-20 season after it was paused on March 12 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Per the memo, the NHL is continuing to “monitor developments in each of the club’s markets, and may adjust the overall timing if appropriate.”

The Phase 2 agreement stipulates a maximum of six players allowed to participate in on-ice workouts at one time. On-ice sessions are only for players, with no coaches or other team personnel allowed on the ice.

Players must wear face coverings entering and leaving the facility as well as when social distancing cannot be maintained except when on the ice.

Per the memo, all player participation in Phase 2 is “strictly voluntary.”

On Friday, the NHLPA’s executive board approved a proposal to resume the 2019-20 season with a 24-team, conference-based playoff format, pending further discussions between the league.

Other issues remain to be worked out between the two sides before the players will return to the ice, the union said.

Phase 1 involved self-quarantine for players and hockey staff on March 12.

--Field Level Media

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