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NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly remains optimistic about the league's potential resumption despite Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's announcement Tuesday that the border between the United States and Canada will remain closed for all non-essential travel for another 30 days.
Daly is hopeful the decision "will not materially affect the resumption of play timelines we are currently contemplating," according to Sportsnet's Chris Johnston.
Though players and staff remain in self-quarantine, the league hopes to initiate Phase 2 of its return plan by late May. At that point, players would be permitted to train in team facilities in small groups while following health and safety guidelines.
The league is reportedly looking to utilize a 24-team playoff format. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said Monday that approximately eight or nine locations are being looked at as potential hub cities to host up to a dozen teams in one location.
Trudeau said earlier this month that any players crossing over into Canada would need to follow quarantine protocol if the NHL should return.