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NHL, NHLPA ratify CBA, return-to-play protocols

Bruce Bennett / Getty Images Sport / Getty

The NHL and NHLPA ratified an extension of the collective bargaining agreement and return-to-play protocols Friday.

"Today, the NHL and the NHLPA announced a significant agreement that addresses the uncertainty everyone is dealing with, the framework for the completion of the 2019-20 season, and the foundation for the continued long-term growth of our league," commissioner Gary Bettman said in a statement.

The CBA extension runs through September 2026, and the agreement officially paves the way for the league to proceed with the 24-team playoff tournament hosted in Toronto and Edmonton this summer. Eastern Conference teams will play in Toronto, and the Western Conference will congregate in Edmonton.

Here's a look at the key dates of the plan:

Date Event
July 13 Training camps open
July 26 Teams arrive in hub cities
July 28-30 Exhibitions
Aug. 1 Qualifiers begin
Aug. 10* Phase 2 of draft lottery
Aug. 11 1st round of playoffs
Aug. 25* 2nd round of playoffs
Sept. 8* Conference finals
Sept. 22* Stanley Cup Final begins
Oct. 4* Last possible date for playoffs
Oct. 9-10* NHL draft

* Tentative date

The NHLPA voted 79% in favor of the new agreement, reports TSN's Frank Seravalli.

Under revamped terms of the CBA, players will defer 10% of next year's salary, and the salary cap will remain stagnant at $81.5 million, according to Sportsnet's Chris Johnston.

Players have until 5 p.m. ET on Monday to opt out of the return to play, Johnston reports. They don't have to provide a reason, and those who opt out won't be penalized as long as they inform their teams by the deadline.

Despite the safety protocols and the guarantee of labor peace, COVID-19 outbreaks could still jeopardize the league's playoff plans. Between June 8 and July 6, 35 NHLers tested positive.

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