The NHL released a memorandum on Monday outlining the framework for the league's next stage of its return to play, which will include a return to team facilities in accordance with local restrictions.
Phase 2 will permit players to return to NHL team training facilities "for voluntary small-group individualized training activities (on-ice and off-ice). Phase 1, which the league is still currently in, is self-quarantine. Though there is no set date for the transition to Phase 2, the memorandum stated that the league is targeting making the move in early June.
In Phase 2, gatherings at team facilities will be limited to a maximum of six players, plus limited staff.
The memorandum also notes this will be permitted "only in those jurisdictions where the applicable health authorities have sufficiently relaxed local restrictions to permit such gatherings." The Capitals' practice facility, MedStar Capitals Iceplex, is located in Virginia. Under the state's current stay at home order, gatherings are limited to no more than 10 people. This order is currently set to expire on June 10.
Players who do wish to participate in Phase 2 will only be allowed to participate in specific activities: player-only non-contact skates (no coaches permitted), weight lifting so long as the activity does not require a spotter, circuit-based activities, cardiovascular and endurance exercises, and rehabilitation treatments.
In order to ensure the health and safety of the players, COVID-19 testing guidelines are also laid out. Players and team staff with player access will be administered tests 48 hours before they return to training facilities. In areas where widespread testing is not available, players and staff must self-quarantine for14 days before they can enter team facilities. Temperature and symptom checks will also be required on a daily basis and all players will have to undergo a "pre-participation medical evaluation."
In addition, the memorandum lays out a number of safety measures players will be required to abide by including maintaining social distancing, using masks and gloves when entering and leaving the team facilities and not car-pooling with other players. Players will also not be permitted to use hot and cold tubs, saunas and steam rooms.
According to the memorandum, "The health of the Players and Club personnel is our top priority, and that will dictate how Phase 2, and any progression thereafter, may evolve. We again emphasize that Player participation in Phase 2 is strictly voluntary. In addition, Clubs are not permitted to require Players to return to the Club’s home city so they can complete a quarantine requirement in time to participate in Phase 2."
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