Toronto, Edmonton to host NHL season

File photo courtesy of © Can Stock Photo / Modestil

The NHL and NHL Players’ Association have ratified an agreement that will see the 2019-2020 hockey season completed in Toronto and Edmonton.

The two sides announced on Friday that they have ratified plans to resume play on August 1 at centralized hubs in the two Canadian cities.

“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,” said NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman in a statement. “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.”

The 24 participating teams will be able to attend training camps in their local markets starting on Monday, which is the start of Phase 3 of the NHL Return Play Plan.

The teams will then travel to the two hub cities in Canada on July 26 — 12 Eastern Conference teams will play in Toronto and 12 Western Conference teams will face off in Edmonton.

The NHL said play will resume with 16 teams paired in eight best-of-five series and a round-robin among the top four teams in points percentage in each conference to determine seeding for the Stanley Cup Playoffs.  The advancing teams will remain in Toronto and Edmonton for the first two rounds of the playoffs.

Edmonton will then host Eastern Conference Final, Western Conference Final and Stanley Cup Final which is the start of Phase 4. The conference finals are tentatively scheduled to begin on September 8, with the Cup Final scheduled to begin September 22.