The NHL and the NHLPA have reached a tentative agreement
With the NHL and NHLPA coming to a tentative agreement on a new CBA extension that will help usher in the Return to Play plan, let’s take a moment to break it down.
This year has been a wild ride for all sports. The NHL is set to be the first to try and mount a comeback before any of the other major sports in North America. But that has resulted in a lot of discussions and agreements that going forward will be incredible for the league and the fans.
But first, let’s talk about the near future. What about the return to play plan? Where is it at? Is it safe? Is it alright? Well, it seems in their agreements that they have pushed it back just a tad. The original training camp date of July 10th is now set to start on the 13th instead, with teams transitioning to the hub cities two weeks later.
The most interesting part of the agreement is the fact that the start of Phase 4, which is the qualifying or play-in rounds has been set to August 1st:
So in about three weeks or so, we will finally have hockey back on TV. The details surrounding phases three and four have also been released. This includes all the details surrounding the COVID-free bubble that the league plans to implement and play within.
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The biggest takeaway from this is how phase three supports phase four. The first two weeks of training camp before the team travels to the hub cities counts as part of the quarantine needed before the teams can fly or bus there. This will include testing at the beginning and when they reach the hubs along with all the medical and safety requirements.
They also broke down the bubble with individuals broken into five different groups. The first includes players, coaches, and team staff. The second includes officials, medical staff, and hotel staff that come into consistent close proximity to the first group. The third group is the same group of individuals as the second but only need limited access to the first group.
The fourth group is anyone who has extremely limited access to the first three, including broadcasters, PA announcers, any Hotel staff such as housekeeping or food preparation. The final group is those who do not need and will not receive any access to any other group.
This grouping will hopefully help protect the bubble as much as possible from outside infections. You can read the rest of the requirements to play here.
But these agreements aren’t just about the return to play plan. In fact, the players got a huge bonus for themselves that the league has denied them for several years. And yes I am talking about the Olympics!
That is right folks! Expect to see your favorite NHLers hit the international ice for both the 2022 and the 2026 Winter Olympics! This has been a development that was completely unexpected but very much welcomed. It goes to show that the players indeed do hold the chance to represent their countries at the Olympic stage very high.
While many will argue that the NHL is the true highest league and that the Olympics is for those who need the extra exposure with the NHL not really getting anything out of it, the truth of the matter is that the NHL is missing out on a chance to really allow the league to bloom globally.
The recognition gained from the Olympics at the global stage can really help everyone involved, from the players to the league. The sport needs its best players at the Olympics because honestly, the All-Star Game is a complete bore. Luckily both the IOC and the IIHF are expected to smooth the process once this agreement is ratified.
So how does this go from a tentative agreement to a ratified one? The players will vote on it this week. To breakdown how the vote will go, feast your eyes upon this glorious infographic:
Okay, I am sorry that I had to subjugate you to this painful graphic, but the concept is that by the end of tomorrow the voting will be done and this tentative agreement will more likely than not lose the title of tentative.
Question for CC Readers: What part of this agreement do you look forward to the most?