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NHL lays groundwork for Phase 2 return to team facilities

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

In a 22-page memorandum released Monday morning, the NHL announced the framework for “Phase 2” — which features players and staff returning to training facilities for voluntary, small-group and individualized training activities — of hockey’s return to play in the near future.

“Based on the current information available, we are now targeting a date in early June for a transition to Phase 2,” the memo read. “However, it has not yet been determined when precisely Phase 2 will start or how long it may last. We are continuing to monitor developments in each of the Club’s markets, and may adjust the overall timing if appropriate, following discussion with all relevant parties.”

Phase 2 activities will only be permitted in areas that have been given consent by health or governmental officials.

That bodes well for the Islanders and Rangers after New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo gave sports teams in the area a green light to return to training.

For teams in heavily-impacted areas who have not been permitted to return to team facilities, the league will work out alternative arrangements.

Players that were not in their team’s home city during self-quarantining (Phase 1) or permanently reside elsewhere will be reimbursed $1,500 for travel and provided safe and proper lodging for the duration of Phase 2.

All players and coaches will be administered coronavirus tests 48 hours before returning to team facilities. Only when tests come back negative, usually within 24 hours, is when they will be granted access.

Those in areas without proper testing would have to self-quarantine for an additional 14 days in the team’s home market.

Upon their potential returns, teams will be tasked in recording their players’ symptoms and administer daily temperature checks. The tests will be self-administered with guidelines being outlined by the league.

Any player that tests positive or develops COVID-19 symptoms would be forced to self-isolate and will be medically evaluated by the team’s physicians and infectious disease specialists to determine the next steps.

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