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According to TSN, NHL players will have to begin traveling back to their playing cities as soon as this weekend to begin quarantine so that they will be ready to fully participate at their clubs’ training camps. Camps could begin as early as Monday, December 28 for the seven teams that did not participate in the return-to-play format last summer and Friday, January 1 for the 24 that did.
While the NHL is hoping to release its plans for the upcoming season as soon as this week, issues regarding the size of taxi squads and rosters and what it would take to call players up from the AHL remain.
The latest report has rosters expanding from 23 to 26 players, with teams being allowed to create an additional four-player taxi squad. If a player were assigned to the AHL, their salary cap would come off of their teams’ salary cap.
As reported earlier, there could be teams who will allow fans into games but that is up to the local governments.
The San Jose Sharks, one of the six teams who will open training camp a few days early, are planning to open their camp at the Arizona Coyotes’ practice facility in Scottsdale due to COVID-19 restrictions in California. The NFL’s San Francisco 49ers are currently playing their home games at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, home of the Arizona Cardinals, due to local restrictions.
While planning for the upcoming season, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman is talking to infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci for guidance. Fauci told him that the best way to pull the 2020-21 season off would be to play in hubs, which remains a possibility even though the NHL and players’ association do not prefer to go that route.
By Harrison Brown