NHL sets return date for August 1st

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FILE – In this Feb. 15, 2020, file photo, fans pose below the NHL league logo at a display outside Falcon Stadium before an NHL Stadium Series outdoor hockey game between the Los Angeles Kings and Colorado Avalanche, at Air Force Academy, Colo. The uncertainty raised by coronavirus pandemic leads to experts providing a bleak short-term assessment on the NHL’s financial bottom line, with some projecting revenues being cut by almost half. What’s unclear is how large the impact might be until it can be determined when fans can resume attending games and if the league is able to complete this season. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)

NEW YORK, NY. (WTAJ) – Following a 142-day pause, the NHL announced it’s officially coming back.

The league will drop the puck with a five-game schedule of Stanley Cup Qualifiers on Saturday, Aug. 1, as the National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA) and NHL ratified a four-year extension to the Collective Bargaining Agreement (through 2025-26) and a Return to Play Plan.

The two conferences will each head to its own bubble, with the west heading to Edmonton and the east headed to Toronto. The Pittsburgh Penguins will open up their qualifying round series against the Montreal Canadians on the first day.

Game two of the series will be Monday August 3rd, game three Wednesday August 5th, game four Friday August 7th, and game five Saturday August 8th.

“Today, the NHL and the NHLPA announced a significant agreement that addresses the uncertainty everyone is dealing with, the framework for the completion of the 2019-20 season and the foundation for the continued long-term growth of our League,” NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said. “I thank NHLPA Executive Director Don Fehr and Special Assistant to the Executive Director Mathieu Schneider, the more than 700 NHL Players – particularly those who worked on our Return to Play Committee – and the NHL’s Board of Governors for coming together under extraordinary circumstances for the good of our game. While we have all worked very hard to try to address the risks of COVID-19, we know that health and safety are and will continue to be our priorities. We know that all of our fans are excited about our return to the ice next month and that has been our goal since we paused our season on March 12.”

“This agreement is a meaningful step forward for the players and owners, and for our game, in a difficult and uncertain time. This would not have happened but for the enormous contributions that the players made throughout, particularly those who served on the Negotiating and Return to Play Committees, as well as those on the Executive Board,” said Don Fehr, NHLPA Executive Director. “I also thank Gary Bettman, Bill Daly and the NHL staff for their efforts towards finding solutions to the problems we face. Most importantly, we are pleased to be able to bring NHL hockey back to the fans. We look forward to the NHL’s continued growth here in North America and on the world stage.”

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