Shortly after the NHL and NHLPA announced a ratified return-to-play plan and CBA extension, Calgary Flames defenseman Travis Hamonic became the first player to opt out of the season.
Hamonic said that concerns about his young children contracting COVID-19 prompted his decision. His daughter was hospitalised with a respiratory illness last year.
"I wish I could lace up my skates and be out there battling, blocking a shot and helping my team win, but my family has and always will come first," Hamonic said.
"Being my little kids' dad every day is the most important job I have."
Hamonic had three goals and nine assists in 50 games before this season was put on hold on March 12 because of the coronavirus pandemic. The Flames will face the Winnipeg Jets in the qualifying round of the playoffs.
Training camps open across North America on Monday, which is also the deadline for players to opt out of participating with no penalty.
The NHL's expanded 24-team playoff format is scheduled to begin without fans on August 1 in Toronto and Edmonton, Alberta.