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NHL targets June to allow for voluntary, individualized workouts

GLENDALE, ARIZONA - FEBRUARY 22: Goaltender Antti Raanta #32 of the Arizona Coyotes is congratulated by teammates after defeating the Tampa Bay Lightning in the NHL game at Gila River Arena on February 22, 2020 in Glendale, Arizona. The Coyotes defeated the Lightning 7-3. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

The National Hockey League issued a phased return to sport protocol that aims to resume individualized practices in June.

The league sent out a 22-page protocol that details the second phase of returning to play, which includes opening practice facilities.

“We are continuing to monitor developments in each of the club’s markets, and may adjust the overall timing if appropriate, following discussion with all relevant parties,” a memo sent out to teams Sunday said.

Following a mandatory quarantine period, players will be allowed to return to their team’s training facility of voluntary small-group training activities both on and off the ice.

On-ice sessions will be non-contact and players will be expected to maintain physical distancing at all times. Players will be required to wear masks when entering and exiting facilities and when not able to physically distance, except for when they’re practicing/exercising.

The memo said that clubs do not have to bring players back to the team’s city to complete the quarantine requirement.

The NHL said it will work with teams to set up alternate arrangements if local health authorities will not allow such gatherings.

As far as testing, teams should make arrangements to have all players and personal tested ahead of activities and at least twice weekly if the testing is available in the region.

The final two phases of the return-to-play protocol — training camps followed by a resumption of play — were not mentioned in the memo.

On Friday, the National Hockey League Players’ Association collectively agreed on a return-to-play format that would have a 24-team playoff.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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