#NHL; #ReturnToPlayProtocol; #SmallGroupWorkouts; #IceSkating; #Covid19Pandemic
Ottawa, May 25 (Canadian-Media): A memo was passed on Monday by the National Hockey League (NHL), which was forced to pause its season March 12 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, announcing early June as the start date for Phase 2 of its return-to-play protocol, media reports said.
NHL. Image credit: Twitter Handle
The NHL players would continuously monitor the situation, read the memo and make appropriate adjustments with the time following discussion with all relevant parties
The memo also included the opening of practice rinks and allowing small, voluntary group workouts on and off the ice.
The NHL, which has worked closely with the NHL Players' Association on the phased approach, said that while it views the protocol as comprehensive, it will not take any risk.
"A range of clinical scenarios exist, from very mild to fatal outcome," the 22-page memo continued. "COVID-19 generally affects older age groups and those with previously existing medical conditions, more so than younger, and otherwise healthy, individuals.
The NHL/NHLPA Return to Play Committee has been hashing out details of what the game will look like if it's allowed to return this summer. The union's executive board approved further negotiations on a 24-team format Friday.
The Phase 2 memo sent to teams Sunday and made public Monday also states players and staff will be administered COVID-19 nasal swab tests two days before training begins, and will be tested twice a week afterwards.
Daily self-administered temperature and symptom checks at home by the players would be followed by temperature and symptom check at the entrance of the club facility.
Players who live in NHL markets other than where they play will be permitted to use local facilities, pending availability, meaning they won't have to travel back to their team's home cities for Phase 2.
Most NHL players have not been on the ice since the league halted its schedule, although some, including a number of Swedish players who returned home, have been skating in recent weeks.
The league said any player or staff member who develops COVID-19 symptons during Phase 2, including cough, shortness of breath, chest pain, fever/chills, muscle pain (not exercise-related), loss of smell or taste, cold-like symptoms, or gastrointestinal symptoms are expected to immediately notify medical officials and self-isolate.
If a COVID-19 test comes back positive, the player/staff member's team will conduct contract tracing in conjunction with local health regulations.
NHL players have been awarded with the Stanley Cup every year since 1893, except for 1919 because of the Spanish flu outbreak, and 2005 when the entire campaign was cancelled due to a lockout.