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Return to Play

NHL training camps for Stanley Cup Qualifiers to open July 10

Phase 3 of Return to Play Plan will occur if medical, safety conditions allow

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Training camps for the 24 NHL teams resuming play will open July 10, the League and NHL Players' Association announced Thursday.

"Now everybody can plan what they have to do," Dallas Stars general manager Jim Nill told the Dallas Morning News. "Now the wheels are in motion."

Phase 3 of the NHL Return to Play Plan will occur provided that medical and safety conditions allow, and the parties have reached an agreement on resuming play. The length of training camp and the start date for resumption of play (Phase 4) will be determined.

"Obviously that's good news for us, having the date of July 10," Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Morgan Rielly said. "It's kind of what we've been waiting for. And I think if you ask most players, the hardest part of it all was the uncertainty. ... Now it's just a matter of putting in the time between now and July 10, getting everyone together, and hopefully from there it'll be smooth sailing in terms of what we have to accomplish in order to get playing again. But obviously it's helpful having dates. Having to go that long without any news or hard information in terms of a start time is tough, but we know it now and hopefully we can go in the right direction."

Video: The guys discuss formal training camps starting July

Phase 2, which allows teams to hold limited workouts with small groups at their team facilities, began Monday.

"I think everyone's excited to play hockey again," Chicago Blackhawks forward Alex DeBrincat said. "I know it's been a tough few months for a lot of us, not being able to get on the ice or anything, and to finally get back on the ice the past two days has been really fun for me."

The NHL announced its Return to Play Plan on May 26 with 24 teams in competition for the Stanley Cup. It will begin with the Stanley Cup Qualifiers, which will include 16 teams playing eight best-of-5 series, and a round-robin among the top four teams in each conference to determine seeding for the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The qualifiers will be held at two hub cities to be identified -- one for the 12 participating Eastern Conference teams and one for the 12 Western Conference teams -- and begin at a date to be determined.

The 2019-20 NHL season was paused March 12 due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus, and facilities were closed.

"We have a month before the camp starts and we have two weeks before games start, so we have plenty of time to prepare," Arizona Coyotes goalie Adin Hill told The Arizona Republic. "It's going to be weird without those regular-season games leading into the playoffs, but it's going to be those high-intensity, high-energy playoff games off the bat. We're really looking forward to it."

In Phase 2, players can participate on a voluntary basis, and workouts (on-ice and off-ice) are limited to a maximum of six players at any time, plus a limited number of staff.

NHL.com staff writers Mike Zeisberger and Tracey Myers contributed to this report

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