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NHL continues return plans; questions remain about when Oilers can begin workouts
EDMONTON -- The NHL is planning to have players return to team facilities for small-group workouts in June as the Edmonton Oilers and the Alberta government continue their pitch to resume the season at Rogers Place.
On Sunday night, NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly sent a framework across the league outlining the NHL's Phase 2 to return to play.
As part of this phase, teams would open their facilities for optional small workouts of up to six players on and off the ice, with no coaches. In addition, players who are travelling back to their respective cities by public transportation will have to self-isolate for 14 days before they can attend these workouts.
"You go from getting an approval one day to opening facilities just a couple of days later. I think that alone brings an excitement to fans that we may actually get National Hockey League games," said TSN 1260 host Dustin Nielson.
The NHL hopes to move forward with Phase 2 in early June in cities where health officials allow it.
However it's unclear when Alberta's hockey teams will be allowed to hit the ice. The province does not plan to reopen arenas until its Stage 3 of relaunch, which has tentative or set date yet.
Alberta Health tells CTV News Edmonton it is exploring when and how arenas can reopen safely in the future.
Premier Jason Kenney has repeatedly supported the Oilers Entertainment Group's bid to host the Western Conference's 12 teams if and when the season resumes.
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"If it can be done safely, everyone is going to be motivated to make that happen," said TSN's Ryan Rishaug. "You have a motivated bunch in the Oilers, you have a provincial health authority that seems open to find solutions, and I think Edmonton is pretty well set up that way from what I can tell."
Questions remain about when, where and how the NHL would return, but Phase 2 is giving fans hope the NHL may come back after the more than two-month long stoppage as a result of COVID-19.