NHL confirms 15 players tested positive for COVID-19 since Phase 2 opening

By WGR 550 SportsRadio

The National Hockey League gave its latest update regarding COVID-19 testing since the opening of Phase 2 of the league's Return To Play plan three weeks ago.

In a league statement, the NHL says that out of up to 250 players to have reported to their home facilities for the optional participation of Phase 2 activities, 15 players have tested positive for the coronavirus. The league says that it has conducted up to 1,450 COVID-19 tests to these players since June 8.

In addition, the league says that 11 other players have also tested positive for COVID-19 outside of its Phase 2 protocol.

NHL statement on COVID-19 testing results: pic.twitter.com/HalBsLro77

— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) June 29, 2020

Despite the number of positive COVID-19 tests the league has been made aware of, as well as the rise of cases across the United States, the league is still planning on commencing Phase 3 of the Return To Plan on July 10, where teams returning to play in the play-in qualifying round and seeding round-robin tournament will report to formal training camp at their home facilities. After two weeks of training camp, the league will then plan on having all 24 teams report to their respective hub cities before taking part in one exhibition game ahead of the opening of Phase 4 on July 30.

The locations of the two hub cities for the NHL have yet to be announced, but it has been reported that Las Vegas, Nevada and Toronto, Ontario, Canada are the front-runners as of Monday. An official announcement of the hub cities is expected to come at some point this week.

At one point, the Tampa Bay Lightning were forced to shut down its training facilities after three players had tested positive for COVID-19, along with two staff members. However, the team has been allowed to re-open its facilities to the players.

Meanwhile, Toronto Maple Leafs forward Auston Matthews had reportedly tested positive for the coronavirus a week-and-a-half ago at his home in Arizona. That adds to a Pittsburgh Penguins player to had reportedly tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this month.

Stay tuned for the latest developments on this story...