The NHL’s Board of Governors and the NHLPA have ratified their agreement that covers both a return to play for the 2019-20 season and an extension to the current CBA until 2026. The deal includes several tweaks to transaction and contract rules but will ensure financial stability for the players and labor peace for the next several years.
Frank Seravalli of TSN reports that the vote among players was 502-135 in favor of the agreement.
With the ratified deal in place the league’s Phase 3—training camp for those 24 teams involved in the expanded playoffs—is set to begin on Monday with games scheduled to kick off on August 1. The Stanley Cup is scheduled to be awarded in October, while the 2020-21 season will hopefully start in December.
The salary cap ceiling is expected to stay at $81.5MM for the 2020-21 season and potentially for several years thereafter.
Should any player wish to opt-out of the upcoming playoff tournament, he will be allowed to penalty-free as long as he does so in writing before 4pm on Monday. The MLB has recently seen several high-profile players opt-out of their shortened season, though they are not working out of hub cities and continuing to travel around North America. The NBA, which has set up a bubble in Florida, has also seen players opt-out including two-time All-Star Victor Oladipo.
The NHL has also announced that the 2020 Entry Draft has been tentatively scheduled for October 9-10. The second phase of the draft lottery will be held after the qualification round.
As part of the agreement, the NHL will once again be sending players to the Olympic Games.
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman released the following statement:
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. 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.
The league has also included a schedule for the first ten days of the qualification round.