NHL teams are allowed to reopen their training facilities for voluntary workouts on Oct. 15.
The NHL announced its offseason training protocols Thursday in a 19-page document that takes into account social distancing; increased health and safety measures during the coronavirus pandemic; and competitive balance. A team will need notice from at least five players before reopening its facilities for voluntary workouts, and a maximum of 12 players can be on the ice at the same time.
“The schedule must allow for sufficient time between sessions to allow for proper disinfecting of training facilities and equipment, and to ensure that there is no overlap between players departing and the next group arriving,” the protocols read.
There is no official start date for training camp and the 2020-21 season, as commissioner Gary Bettman said before the Stanley Cup Final that it’s possible the season could be pushed to late December or even January.
Players and staffers who participate in voluntary offseason workouts must produce a negative COVID-19 test upon arrival and will be tested at least twice weekly. Anyone who has had COVID-19 must also undergo a cardiac screening.
As part of offseason training, players will be allowed to do “weight training that does not include the need for a spotter,” though only a maximum of six players are allowed in the weight room at a time. Players can also receive rehabilitation and treatment for ongoing injuries at team facilities.
Fitness testing by teams is not permitted until training camp. Players participating in voluntary offseason training are not allowed to work out or skate at public facilities, and players cannot organize group skates outside of training sessions arranged by teams. Face masks must be worn at all times at facilities, with the only exception being when players are exercising or on the ice.
Players will be required to socially distance at least 6 feet if they use the locker room. They will be allowed to shower at the facilities but cannot share towels, toiletries or any personal items. Players are also discouraged from carpooling or using public transportation to get to the rink. Saunas and steam rooms are prohibited, but hot and cold tubs may be used, if properly socially distanced. Teams cannot provide shared meals for players, though they can offer prepackaged meals that can be consumed at home. The only thing that is allowed to be consumed at the facility is single-use beverages or snacks, such as energy bars.
The NHL is banning media, player agents, player performance personnel and players’ families from the facilities during offseason training.