As a condition of a formal agreement in place between the league, teams and players, the NHL will now be providing all official announcements regarding testing for COVID-19 and subsequent cases detected as a result of the testing. On Friday the league released its first official weekly update:
A total of more than 200 players have undergone multiple tests as a part of Phase 2, with 11 players testing positive.
“Since NHL clubs were permitted to open their training facilities on June 8, all players entering these facilities for voluntary training have been subject to mandatory testing for COVID-19. Through today, in excess of 200 players have undergone multiple testing,” the statement read. “A total of 11 of these players have tested positive. All players who have tested positive have been self-isolated and are following CDC and Health Canada protocols. The NHL will provide a weekly update on the numbers of tests administered to players and the results of those tests. The league will not be providing information on the identity of the players or their clubs.”
Participation in Phase 2 is strictly voluntary for players, and players are not required to quarantine under guidelines set by the NHL for Phase 2.
Earlier in the day on Friday it was announced that three players participating in the Tampa Bay Lightning Phase 2 training tested positive. Also on Friday it was announced that Austin Matthews of the Toronto Maple Leafs tested positive as well (More here).
“Will depend on circumstances,” NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly told Boston Hockey Now in an email Friday night. “But we are proceeding on the basis that one or several positives may very well happen, and that alone won’t affect the ability to continue with the tournament.”
— Sam Carchidi (@BroadStBull) June 19, 2020
In an email to the Associated Press earlier in the day, Daly acknowledged the major COVID19 spikes in Coronavirus cases in states such as Florida, Texas, Arizona, and Nevada where the NHL reportedly wants to host the Eastern Conference teams in a Hub City.
The Lightning positive tests come exactly a week after an unnamed Boston Bruins player tested positive. Currently, players aren’t tested every day and as Sweeney explained to the media in a Zoom call last Friday, that will change in Phase 3 but for now, it’s a learning process for all teams.
NHL training camps, otherwise known as Phase 3 of the league’s return-to-play plan, are expected to start on July 10.
By Jon Sorensen