Report: NHL to Commence Phase 4 of Return To Play Format on July 30

Phase 3 will see a two-week training camp take place before teams travel to their hub city on July 23 or 24

Brayton Wilson
June 20, 2020 - 1:48 pm

Photo credit Photo: Ethan Miller - Getty Images

It appears as though some final details of the National Hockey League's Return To Play initiative are being hammered out this weekend during virtual general manager meetings.

Larry Brooks from the New York Post reported on Saturday that the league will hold a two-week training camp period when Phase 3 of the Return To Play plan officially opens up on Friday, July 10. Following that period, teams will then travel to their respective hub city for the 24-team format on July 23 or 24, where each team will play one exhibition game before Phase 4 commences on Thursday, July 30.

The two hub cities for the NHL have yet to be announced, but a formal announcement could come some time early next week. Las Vegas has been reported to be preparing to be named as one of the two hub cities, while other cities like Toronto, Pittsburgh and Columbus are also reportedly in consideration.

The Canadian federal government issued an order in council on Thursday that would allow a city like Toronto to serve as one of the league's hub cities for the Return To Play format. This would also allow the possibility for Edmonton and Vancouver to be a possible Canadian hub city for the NHL this summer.

Phase 4 of the Return To Play plan is the official resumption of play with the start of the qualifying play-in round and the seeding round-robin tournament for each conference.

Here is how the matchups will look like for both conferences in the Return To Play format::

EASTERN CONFERENCE

Round-Robin:

1. Boston Bruins

2. Tampa Bay Lightning

3. Washington Capitals

4. Philadelphia Flyers

Qualifying Round:

5 - Pittsburgh Penguins vs. 12 - Montreal Canadiens

6 - Carolina Hurricanes vs. 11 - New York Rangers

7 - New York Islanders vs. 10 - Florida Panthers

8 - Toronto Maple Leafs vs. 9 - Columbus Blue Jackets

WESTERN CONFERENCE

Round-Robin:

1. St. Louis Blues

2. Colorado Avalanche

3. Vegas Golden Knights

4. Dallas Stars

Qualifying Round:

5 - Edmonton Oilers vs. 12 - Chicago Blackhawks

6 - Nashville Predators vs. 11 - Arizona Coyotes

7 - Vancouver Canucks vs.  10 - Minnesota Wild

8 - Calgary Flames vs. 9 - Winnipeg Jets

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