NHL, NHLPA Announce Return To Play Medical Protocols, Critical Dates, & Rule Change for 2020-21 Season

Photo: NHL.com

The NHL and NHL Players’ Association (NHLPA) announced on Tuesday applicable medical protocols, transition rules for the 2020-21 season, which include information relating to critical dates, and the formal approval of a change to NHL Rule 83 (Off-side).

Medical Protocols

The league released three protocol documents that set out “the preventative measures applicable to the 2020/21 NHL Season (including Training Camp) which are intended to help protect against the contraction and spread of COVID-19, as well as procedures relating to the detection of infection and transmission of COVID-19.” Key information includes:

  • The league will announce the names of players who test positive for COVID-19 during the season.
  • Players will stay alone in hotel rooms on the road and are not allowed to dine at restaurants, go shopping, or use transportation that isn’t provided by the team.
  • Teammates identified as close contacts won’t be required to quarantine as long as they test negative and remain asymptomatic.
  • All coaches must wear face coverings on the bench during games.
  • Following a positive test, players must self-isolate based on local health regulations and need to be cleared by a team physician and cardiologist before returning to play.

The full text of the medical protocols can be found below:

Transition Rules & Critical Dates

The full text of the 2020-21 Transition Rules can be found here. Here are the critical dates for the 2020-21 season:

Dec. 31 – Training camps open for seven Clubs that did not participate in the resumption of play for the 2019-20 season (Anaheim, Buffalo, Detroit, Los Angeles, New Jersey, Ottawa, San Jose)

Jan. 3 – Training camps open for the remaining 24 teams

Jan. 13 – 2020-21 regular season begins

April 12 – Trade deadline (3 p.m. ET)

May 8 – Last day of regular season

*May 11 – Stanley Cup Playoffs begin

*July 9 – Last possible day of Stanley Cup Final

July 17 – Deadline for Protection Lists for Expansion Draft (5 p.m. ET)

July 21 – Expansion Draft for Seattle Kraken (8 p.m. ET)

July 23 – Round 1 of NHL Draft

July 24 – Rounds 2-7 of NHL Draft

July 28 – Restricted Free Agent/Unrestricted Free Agent signing period begins (12 p.m. ET)

*subject to adjustment

NHL Rule 83 (Off-side)

Beginning in the 2020-21 regular season, a player’s skate will not have to be in contact with the blue line in order to be on-side. The updated language for NHL Rule 83.1 follows:

83.1  Off-side – Players of the attacking team must not precede the puck into the attacking zone.

The position of the player’s skates and not that of his stick shall be the determining factor in all instances in deciding an off-side. A player is off-side when both skates are completely over the leading edge of the blue line involved in the play.

(NEW) – A player is on-side when either of his skates are in contact with the blue line, or on his own side of the line, at the instant the puck completely crosses the leading edge of the blue line. On his own side of the line shall be defined by a “plane” of the blue line which shall extend from the leading edge of the blue line upwards. If a player’s skate has yet to break the “plane” prior to the puck crossing the leading edge, he is deemed to be on-side for the purpose of the off-side rule.

On Sunday, the NHL and NHLPA agreed to play a 56-game regular season, which begins on January 13 with realigned divisions.

By Della Young

About Della Young

Della Young is an aspiring novelist and screenwriter who earned a BFA in Creative Writing from Full Sail University in 2021. She is currently pursuing a Master of Arts in Screenwriting from Regent University. Della comes from a family of big Capitals fans and became inspired to start writing for hockey in 2019. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, cooking, and working on both sides of the camera. Follow Della on Twitter: @dellayoung
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2 Responses to NHL, NHLPA Announce Return To Play Medical Protocols, Critical Dates, & Rule Change for 2020-21 Season

  1. Joe says:

    I always thought it was stoopid to have both skates in contact with the ice while breaking the plain. It means they’ve got to coast over the line instead of power over the line.

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