Frequent testing and testing protocols used will be an important part of any scenario the NHL and the NHL Players’ Association consider for resuming the season, according to NHL.com.
NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly discussed the issue in two radio interviews Friday.
“We’re going to need to have access to testing, and we’re going to make it a point that we’re not accessing testing, even in a private way, if testing availability is an issue in the community,” Daly told 630 CHED in Edmonton. “We will not test asymptomatic players ahead of symptomatic people who are unable to get tested. It’s just something we will not do.”
Daly told TSN 1050 in Toronto the actual testing protocol has yet to be determined.
“There are number of potential solutions that are [pitched] to us and to the other sports leagues and to other organizations every day, and I’d say it’s an important part of the process in terms of making sure you thoroughly vet that and understand the testing solution you’re embracing,” Daly said.
Daly told TSN 1050 a community would need the capacity for a testing program along with a first-class arena, practice ice, hotel capacity and the ability to secure access.
“Not every community probably will be in the place where they can allow for discretionary testing of players,” Daly said.
According to Chris Johnston of Sportsnet, in recent days, multiple return-to-play timelines have started circulating among team executives and player agents that feature many general consistencies about how the next few months could play out:
May 15-31: Informal, small-group skates
June 1-30: Training camps and exhibition play
July 1-Sept. 30: Completion of remaining 189 regular-season games in centralized locations, followed by Stanley Cup playoffs
Off-season (free agency, arbitration, etc.)
Mid-November: Training camps open for 2020-21 season
Mid- to late-December: Regular season begins
The NHL may be pivoting away from the possibility of playing the remainder of the 2019-20 regular season in four centralized spots, and is now looking into playing games in each team’s host city, according to The New York Post’s Larry Brooks.
The league is still going through its options, but the report states that players do not like the idea of being away from their families for weeks and even months, leading them to this thought after a meeting between the NHL and NHLPA on Wednesday. Five players were included in the meeting.
The NHLPA has expressed concerns about being away from society but has not shut that notion down, so the thought of having games in four designated cities is still on the table.