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The National Hockey League (NHL) will likely return 1 August for a 24-team playoff format. On Monday, the NHL and the NHL Players’ Association (NHLPA) announced that they were close to reaching an agreement on a return-to-play format and an extension of the collective bargaining agreement.
Should a deal be made, training camps for the 24 teams would begin on 13 July. The teams would then travel to hub cities, most likely Toronto and Edmonton, Alberta, for an exhibition game on 26 July and the beginning rounds of the playoffs held in August.
According to the Associated Press, the NHL and its players agreed to return-to-play protocols over the weekend, which gives players three days to decide if they want to opt out of the expanded playoffs once all the plans go final.
With players in other leagues testing positive for COVID-19 before their return to play, there seems to be uncertainty in the sports world.
If hockey does return on the first day of next month, however, there will be a lot of games for sports bettors to wager on.
The on-the-ice matchups for the extended playoffs are essentially set. The four teams that led each conference in points when play was halted in March will play round-robin games against one another to determine seeding. Based on seeding, those eight teams will then face the winners of eight opening-round, best-of-five series.