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Wild to open training camp next week, return to play Aug. 1

By Dane Mizutani

Pioneer Press, St. Paul, Minn.

After months of speculation, the Wild finally know when the will be back on the ice for actual games. At least for now.

According to a league release sent out on Monday afternoon, the NHL and the NHL Players Association have reached a tentative agreement on start dates of the Return to Play Plan.

As a part of the tentative agreement, teams will open formal training camp on July 13, report to hub cities on July 26 and, most importantly, start the qualifying round on August 1. That’s where the Wild will take on the Vancouver Canucks in a best-of-five series.

The winner advances to the playoffs with teams from the Western Conference reportedly playing in Edmonton and teams from the Eastern Conference reportedly playing in Toronto.

This announcement has been a few months in the making as the league suspended play indefinitely on March 12 to slow the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

Additionally, the NHL and the NHLPA have reached a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that adds an additional four years to the term of the current Collective Bargaining Agreement and includes transition rules and a new critical dates calendar.

This is now subject to approval by the NHL’s Board of Governors, as well as the NHLPA’s Executive Board followed by the full NHLPA membership.

“The respective review and approval processes will take place over the next few days,” the league release read. “There will be no further comment until those processes are completed.”

Any player choosing to opt out of participating in training camp and games has until 5 p.m. EDT on Tuesday to notify his team, according to the The Associated Press, though an additional deadline is expected after ratification.

As of Monday, a total of 23 players have tested positive for COVID-19 since the NHL began allowing players back into team facilities for small group workouts on June 8. That number was detailed in a separate league release, adding that the the NHL is aware of 12 additional players that tested positive for COVID-19 in that same time frame.

All players who tested positive have been self-isolated and the NHL said it will not be providing information on the identity of the players or clubs.

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