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Return to Play agreements reached; CBA extended 4 years

July 6, 2020, 8:07 PM ET [1 Comments]
Rick Sadowski
Colorado Avalanche Blogger •Avalanche Insider • RSSArchiveCONTACT
The NHL and NHL Players’ Association announced on Monday they reached a tentative agreement on a Return to Play Plan and a memorandum of understanding for a four-year collective bargaining agreement extension through the 2025-26 season.

The agreement is subject to ratification from the NHL’s Board of Governors, the NHLPA’s executive board, and a vote from the full NHLPA membership vote with a majority needed for approval. The vote is expected to take place over the next several days.

As part of the agreement, Phase 3 -- training camps -- will formally begin next Monday. Avalanche camp will be held at the Pepsi Center under very strict conditions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Players have been skating there as part of Phase 2. Workout groups were restricted to six players and limited staff at first, but were later expanded to a maximum of 12 players.

Teams will travel to their hub cities (expected to be Edmonton and Toronto, no official announcement has been made) no later than July 26. Phase 4, qualifying rounds and the round-robin games to determine the top four Stanley Cup playoff seeds in each conference, will begin Aug. 1.

The Avalanche will play Dallas, St. Louis and Vegas to determine the top four seeds in the Western Conference.

The current CBA was set to expire on Sept. 15, 2022, so labor peace appears to be at hand. Aside from the extension, the agreement would allow NHL players to take part in the 2022 and 2026 Winter Olympics, pending an agreement with the International Olympic Committee.

As part of the agreement, any player who chooses not to take part in the round-robin or qualifying rounds can do so without penalty. Some baseball players have elected not to play when the MLB plays a 60-game schedule, citing concerns about health.

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