The NHL has instructed players and team staff to extend their period of self-quarantine by another 10 days amid the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
That message was shared with general managers during Tuesday’s call with senior league officials. Clubs had originally been asked to observe self-quarantine through Friday, but will now remain in isolation at home until April 6.
With the season on pause, the goal is to allow enough time for symptoms to present themselves — so far only two NHL players, both Ottawa Senators, have tested positive for coronavirus — and to keep the community as free from the fast-spreading virus as possible before next steps can be taken.
The league has said that it would like to eventually reopen team facilities to small groups for voluntary workouts if conditions allow. That would precede a training camp period before any resumption of play.
In a March 16 memo, the league said its objective was to “provide high-level guidance on the potential of opening a training camp period roughly 45 days” into a 60-day window provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, where it advised against holding gatherings larger than 50 people.
That 45-day marker arrives on April 30 and will still be used as a check-in time to see if there is enough information to determine a timeline for training camp, according to deputy commissioner Bill Daly.
Players have spread across North America and Europe since the NHL was forced to halt its season on March 12. There were still 189 games remaining in a regular season that was 85 per cent completed at that point.
The league has since established two competitive priorities — doing whatever it can to award a Stanley Cup this season, while not compromising its ability to hold a full campaign next year — and could potentially play into August now that the Tokyo Olympics have been postponed until 2021.