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NHL, Players Reach Tentative Deal to Return

Newser — Bob Cronin

The NHL and its players union have reached a tentative deal to return to the ice Aug. 1 for a 24-team playoff tournament. If approved by the league's Board of Governors and the union's membership, training camps would start July 13, ESPN reports.

The proposal includes coronavirus precautions, including testing protocol and social distancing rules. Players and staff members are to be tested daily once they're in what the league calls "the bubble," or "secure zone." The draft also stipulates when players' families can join them and includes a plan in the event too many players test positive for the league to continue play.

Players will have a three-day period when they can opt out of the season—no questions asked, the draft says.

The two sides also announced a four-year extension for the NHL's collective bargaining agreement, which was due to expire after the 2021-22 season.

Both sides considered an agreement a prerequisite to returning to play this summer, per the AP. The agreement, running through the 2025-26 season, includes a flat salary cap of $81.5 million for next season and a one-time 10% salary deferral by players.

The salary cap would stay in place until hockey revenue hits $4.8 billion, the amount the league had expected for this season. The talks also addressed a return to the Olympics; negotiators agreed to take part in 2022, assuming agreement with the International Olympic Committee.

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