Coronavirus: NHL return maintains integrity – commissioner Bettman


NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said the league returning maintains the integrity of the Stanley Cup amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The 2019-20 NHL season was suspended in March due to the COVID-19 crisis, but the league hopes to resume with a 24-team playoff format in early August.

Teams are allowed to begin training camps on July 10 to prepare for the restart of the competition, provided all medical protocols are in place.

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While the MLB struggles to get underway, Bettman talked up the NHL's plans as the NBA and MLS also plan to resume.

"I think everybody can feel good, based on the combination of the play-in round and the way we're going to run the playoffs, that this will be a full competition which will bring out the best in our teams and our players," Bettman told ESPN.

"The Stanley Cup champion will be deserving of that crown and the most storied trophy in all of sports."

"We will create an environment that will be exciting, will be entertaining, will be consistent with a competition that has integrity," he continued.

"Everything we've been doing has been a joint effort [with the players], working together, to make sure that we're adhering to the protocols which will be very strict," Bettman said.

The NHL plans to test all players daily for coronavirus when the season is able to restart and Bettman added: "If there's one positive test -- again, this will be under the strict guidance of the medical people -- that person will be isolated.

"And we'll be monitoring anybody, through contract tracing, that was in close proximity. Obviously, for any sport, if you have a major outbreak, it's going to change everything; but we're being told that an isolated case or a couple of isolated cases shouldn't interfere with the plans, and we should be able to move forward."

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