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The NHL and NHLPA have reached a tentative agreement on return to play, CBA

For once, they did it without a work stoppage... kind of.

NHL: Colorado Avalanche at St. Louis Blues Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

The National Hockey League released a statement today that should make fans very, very happy. From their press release:

NEW YORK/TORONTO (July 6, 2020) – The National Hockey League (NHL) and National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA) have reached a tentative agreement on a Return to Play Plan and Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that adds an additional four years to the term of the current Collective Bargaining Agreement and includes transition rules and a new critical dates calendar. As part of the tentative agreement, the following dates have been established: July 13 – Start of formal training camps; July 26 – Clubs travel to hub cities; August 1 – Start of Qualifying Round. The tentative agreement is now subject to approval by the NHL’s Board of Governors, as well as the NHLPA’s Executive Board followed by the full NHLPA membership. The respective review and approval processes will take place over the next few days and there will be no further comment until those processes are completed.

So, training camps start next week for players who haven’t recently kicked back a positive test, and two weeks after that the playoff teams will either be traveling to Toronto or Edmonton to begin the qualifying round of the playoffs. We’ll have hockey back in less than a month if all goes smoothly and according to plan. Granted, none of these dates are set in stone, because a pandemic doesn’t care about the best laid plans of the NHL and NHLPA, but it does give us something to look forward to.

Another treat that fans should look forward to is the fact that the NHL and NHLPA came to an agreement on the CBA without a work stoppage involved. Granted, there are questions about the salary cap issue (and how it impacts GM’s free agency signings), but extending the current CBA eliminates the risk for a work stoppage right after a pandemic stoppage. We’ll now have to wait until 2024 for the NHL to shoot itself in the foot.