Report: NHL loosening restrictions in Phase 2, will allow workouts with up to 12 skaters

NHL teams will be allowed to have up to 12 skaters on the ice at one time. (Photo by Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images)

Despite a small breakout in COVID-19 cases forcing one club to close down their practice facilities at the end of last week, beginning Tuesday the NHL is loosening restrictions in Phase 2 of the return-to-play process.

Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston reports that players will now have the ability to participate in voluntary workouts in groups as large as 12 skaters. These workouts were previously limited to six skaters since practice facilities first opened for informal training on June 8.

While players are encouraged to move in and out of the facilities quickly, the expanded groups may allow for more time spent at the rink, as players will not have to exit the building to allow the next collection of players to come through.

Elsewhere — and as we continue to wait on the NHL’s decision on two hub cities — the NHL and NHLPA have reportedly come to an agreement on extensions for the standard players’ contracts. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman confirmed Monday that contracts set to expire on July 1 will be extended through until late October — if the NHL does indeed move forward with a return-to-play plan.

As TSN’s Pierre LeBrun notes, this will allow for foreign players to have work permits extended.

The NHL has now entered the third week in Phase 2, with Phase 3, or the beginning of training camps, still on track for July 10.

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