The NHL has updated its guidance for players and has instructed them to self-quarantine for another 10 days. This comes after a call with league general managers Tuesday.
Prior to Tuesday’s announcement, the guidance was for players to quarantine until about Friday as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. They will now remain in isolation until April 6.
The idea behind this extension is to give more time for any symptoms to present themselves and to maintain safety in the community. Right now, just two NHL players – both members of the Ottawa Senators – have tested positive for coronavirus.
The NHL is still hoping to reopen team facilities to small groups for voluntary workouts, but that will naturally require more information first. This would precede the reopening of a training camp before the league would resume play.
The NHL circulated a memo on March 16 to “provide high-level guidance on the potential of opening a training camp period roughly 45 days.” That timeline still looks plausible at this point, especially with the 60-day window offered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention regarding a recommendation against gatherings of 50 or more people.
The league intends on “checking in” around April 30, at which point the timeline on a training camp will be made clearer.
The league paused its season on March 12, leaving 189 games on the table.
As of now, the NHL has two stated priorities.
First, it plans on awarding the Stanley Cup this season. Second, it does not plan on shortening the 2020-2021 season. Both these goals suggest a necessity to return to play sooner rather than later, which coincides with the league checking with arenas regarding scheduling dates around August.
If that timeline bears out, we could be looking at an extremely short off-season indeed.
Photo credit: NHL.com