NHL, NHLPA Form “Return To Play” Committee; Toronto, Columbus Leading Contenders for Two of Four Host Cities

Larry Brooks of the New York Post reported on Saturday that a “Return to Play” Committee established by the league and the union has conducted a pair of conference calls over the past three days with regularly scheduled “meetings” to follow.

According to the Post, Gary Bettman, Bill Daly, and senior VPs Colin Campbell and Steve Hatze Petros represent the NHL, while the NHLPA is represented by Don Fehr, Mathieu Schneider, general counsel Don Zavelo, divisional rep Steve Webb, and active players John Tavares, Connor McDavid, James van Riemsdyk and Ron Hainsey. Medical advisers from both the league and union are added to the calls when appropriate.

As we reported on Friday, it appears that a plan may finally be emerging with regards to completing the 2019-2020 season, which includes completing the 2019-2020 regular season at four NHL cities.

The NHL is currently in the process of picking four cities to finish the regular season but sports will start out without fans in arenas. According to The Athletic‘s Pierre LeBrun, St. Paul, Edmonton, Las Vegas, Pittsburgh, Toronto, Columbus, and Dallas were among the 12 cities being discussed for neutral-site games

According to Brooks, Toronto and Columbus are leading contenders to become two of the four host cities. The plan would be for all teams to hold their training camps of up to three weeks at their assigned centralized locations.

This means players on clubs that advance deep into the playoffs following the planned hypothetical completion of the regular season would be segregated from society — and, more to the point, their families — for nearly four months.

As we also reported on Friday, deputy commissioner Bill Daly says a single positive or multiple positive tests involving players or personnel wouldn’t put an immediate halt to on-ice activity.

“Everything depends on the facts and the entire set of circumstances,” Daly told TSN’s Ryan Rishaug. “but no, we do not believe that one positive test, even multiple positive tests wouldn’t necessarily shut the whole thing

As far as timeline, nothing concrete has been reported by the NHL or the NHLPA. Former NHL player John Scott reported on Friday that teams were told to be ready to report by June 1.

By Jon Sorensen

About Jon Sorensen

Jon has been a Caps fan since day one, attending his first game at the Capital Centre in 1974. His interest in the Caps has grown over the decades and included time as a season ticket holder. He has been a journalist covering the team for 10+ years, primarily focusing on analysis, analytics and prospect development.
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