Hockey looks poised to return a week from today as the NHL and NHLPA have agreed on language of a tentative agreement covering the previously-reported Return to Play Plan, as well as a Memorandum of Understanding that will ensure labor peace for an additional four years beyond the current CBA:

Three critical dates for Phase 3 (Training Camp) and Phase 4 (Qualifying Round) are as follows:

  • July 13: Start of formal training camps
  • July 26: Clubs travel to hub cities
  • August 1: Start of Qualifying Round

It’s important to note that the tentative agreement will not be official until the NHL’s Board of Governors, NHLPA Executive Board, and the full NHLPA membership votes to ratify. There was a bit of panic in some circles that the talks had the potential to stall, if not entirely collapse, as Eric Engles of Sportsnet reported that multiple player sources expressed doubt about a safe return to play with one anonymous source stating that roughly 75% of players had no desire to return to play out the remaining games.

In fairness, that number seemed hyperbolic at the time, and as I discussed with NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Colby Cohen on Snow The Goalie, it’s highly unlikely that such a large portion of the NHLPA was vehemently opposed to returning to play.

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