The owners and the players must ratify the agreement with a vote, but this is definitely trending in a positive direction. Ratification could happen as soon as the end of this week, but there is no set deadline, per McKenzie. Per the agreement, Phase 3 will begin as planned on July 13, followed by travel to hub cities on July 26 and the beginning of play on August 1.
The full press release from the NHLPA reads as follows: “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.”
Given the troubled history between these two sides, that they could come to an agreement without a work stoppage under these rushed and dynamic conditions speaks volumes. The extended CBA will now expire on September 15, 2026, per NHL.com. There are still plenty of hurdles ahead before August 1, but for now, it appears that the NHL will return in less than a month’s time.