NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly has provided an update as to what comes next for the league's players following the decision to pause the 2019-20 season due to the coronavirus pandemic.
In a statement shared by TSN's Ryan Rishaug, Daly said the expectation is for players to remain in their home club's city, but those away from their families can return home at this point in time.
"The general expectation is that players will remain in their club's home cities absent unusual circumstances," Daly said. "Obviously, where a player is separated from his family because his club city residence is only temporary at this point, those players should be permitted to go home to their families in this initial phase of the pause period."
The statement continued: "We envision there coming a time where we transition direction from 'stay at home' to opening club facilities to players to work out and to skate on a voluntary basis in small groups – similar to what we generally see prior to the beginning of team training camps. At this point, I'm not in a position to say when that will be. We will see how the next week or so plays out."
On Thursday, the NHL announced it will pause the 2019-20 campaign amid the coronavirus outbreak. Many other professional hockey leagues had either postponed or cancelled play at that time, and a number of circuits throughout North America followed the NHL's decision to press pause on their respective campaigns. The KHL is most notable professional league still active.
The NHL hasn't set an official return date, but Daly said the league is "recommending against informal skates during this initial phase of the pause. Once we move into the next phase and (a) player is "training" for the resumption of play, his activities will be subject to the protections afforded in his (standard player contract)."
Daly confirmed that the league won't require mandatory COVID-19 testing, but "if a player exhibits symptoms or becomes sick he will be tested, as appropriate."
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