The NHL's Board of Governors and the NHL Players' Association (NHLPA) approved a plan to resume the season with games in Toronto and Edmonton, Alberta, on August 1, in separate votes announced on Friday.
Training camps are scheduled to begin on Monday across North America for the expanded 24-team playoff format involving the top 12 teams in each of the Eastern and Western Conferences.
Monday is also the deadline for players to opt out of participating in the season with no penalty.
Both sides also reached an agreement on a four-year extension to the current collective bargaining agreement (CBA) that will run through 2025-26 and ensure 14 years of labor peace since a lockout shortened the 2012-13 season.
The current CBA was due to expire in September 2022. The new agreement would overwrite the CBA for the 2020 and 2021-22 seasons while adding another four seasons.
The CBA includes language that would allow players to return to the Olympics in 2022 and 2026 – pending an agreement with the IIHF and IOC.
"This agreement is a meaningful step forward for the players and owners, and for our game, in a difficult and uncertain time," NHLPA executive director Don Fehr said. "We are pleased to be able to bring NHL hockey back to the fans."
There will be no fans at the games in Toronto and Edmonton and the plan is to play five or six games a day to start – up to three at each site.
There will be personnel limits, quarantining restrictions and daily tests for players, coaches, management and team, arena, hotel and restaurant staff at the hub cities. Players families will not be able to join them until the conference finals, which will take place Edmonton.
Those who test positive or develop symptoms will be placed in isolation for a minimum of 10 days and must twice test negative before being allowed to rejoin the team.
If all goes according to schedule, the Stanley Cup Final would begin in late September in Edmonton, with the 2020-21 season targeted to start on December 1.
The NHL hopes to complete a season that was shut down on March 12 due to the coronavirus pandemic with 189 games and the playoffs remaining.
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