It's official: Hockey is back.
Four days after reaching a tentative agreement on the Return to Play plan and a Collective Bargaining Agreement extension, the NHL and NHL Players' Association have ratified the package. The new CBA deal runs through the 2025-26 season, which ensures labor peace for at least the next six years.
Formal training camps are set to open on Monday, and the 2019-20 restart is scheduled to begin on Aug. 1 in the two hub cities of Edmonton and Toronto. The Blackhawks and 11 other Western Conference clubs will head to Edmonton while the 12 Eastern Conference teams will stay in Toronto.
The Blackhawks will square off against the Oilers in a five-game play-in series for a chance to secure a spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The eliminated team will have a 12.5 percent chance at landing the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 NHL Draft.
If all goes well, Phase 2 of the NHL Draft Lottery will tentatively take place on Aug. 10 — immediately after the qualifying round — and the Stanley Cup will be awarded no later than Oct. 4.