ST. LOUIS (KMOX) - Before the St. Louis Blues can begin its defense as returning Stanley Cup Champions, the NHL must allow for training camps to begin. And it looks like that could be starting on July 10.
The National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA) and the National Hockey League (NHL) announced on Thursday that formal training camps for the 24 teams resuming play will open on July 10, provided that medical and safety conditions allow and the parties have reached an overall agreement on resuming play.
The start of training camps is Phase 3 of the NHL's four-phase return to play plan.
The length of training camp and, therefore, the start date for formal resumption of play (Phase 4) will be determined at a future date, according to the release from the NHL.
You can see the full details of the NHL's return to play plan, here:
Here are four phases in the NHL's return to play plan:
Phase 1 - It began on March 12 with teams having been instructed to self-isolate as much as possible.
Phase 2 – In early June, it is expected that teams will be permitted to return to home facilities fo r small group, voluntary, and on- and off-ice training.
Phase 3 – Not earlier than first half of July, formal training camps will begin after guidance from medical and civil authorities.
Phase 4 – 24 teams in 2 "hub" cities will compete in Seeding Round Robi
Progress was made in the return to NHL action after the league proposed a 24-team playoff format that was approved by the NHLPA board. The plan would give the top four teams in each conference a first-round bye, which would include the currently top-seeded St. Louis Blues. Then the remaining Nos. 5 through 12 seeded teams would participate in a round of best-of-five play-in series. Those play-in series would determine which teams advance to a traditional 16-team Stanley Cup playoff bracket, which would have seven-game series.