By Kevin Durso, Sports Talk Philly editor
There is progress being made in returning to play for the NHL. Not only has a majority of the plan been finalized, but now there is a clear step in making a return.
On Monday, June 8, the NHL will officially transition to Phase 2 of the four-phase return plan, the league announced on Thursday night.
“Beginning June 8 — subject to each Club’s satisfaction of all of the requirements set out in the Phase 2 Protocol — Clubs will be permitted to reopen their training facilities in their home city to allow players to participate in individualized training activities (off-ice and on-ice),” a press release from the NHL said. “Players will be participating on a voluntary basis and will be scheduled to small groups (i.e., a maximum of six players at any one time, plus a limited number of Club staff). The various measures set out in the Phase 2 Protocol are intended to provide players with a safe and controlled environment in which to resume their conditioning.”
The NHL and NHLPA are continuing to negotiate other details of a resumption of play, notably the start date for Phase 3 and Phase 4. There are also further details regarding testing and safety for the players and their families that need to be negotiated as well as the selection of hub cities.
Still, this is a huge step for the league’s resumption. The NHL anticipated moving to Phase by early June and now have successfully done so. While Phase 3 will not start prior to July 10, there is hope that things can continue to progress in a positive direction according to the plan that has been detailed to this point.
In the Flyers case, the team’s facility in Voorhees is able to open under guidelines from the state of New Jersey after governor Phil Murphy announced that professional sports training facilities were permitted to open on May 26.
Again, participation from any players is voluntary in Phase 2. Players can continue to train in their own capacities, but can return to the team’s facilities if they so choose.