Report: NHL has Target Date for New York Rangers to Enter Re-opening Phase 2

Jim Bay
New York Rangers
Feb 14, 2020; Columbus, Ohio, USA; New York Rangers center Ryan Strome (16) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal against the Columbus Blue Jackets in the third period at Nationwide Arena. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

According to TSN‘s Pierre LeBrun, The NHL and NHLPA sent out a 29-page Phase 2 protocol memo to the New York Rangers and other teams late on Sunday. The memo details the plan to reopen team facilities and allow small group workouts.

This comes on the heels of a recent announcement by New York State governor Andrew Cuomo that allows New York state sports teams to conduct practices and training in their facilities. ESM covered this in more detail in an article you can find here.

Phase 2 will allow a maximum of six players in a practice facility at one time, and no coaches or personnel will be permitted on the ice with them, according to LeBrun. He also added that players would need to wear face coverings at all times, except when exercising or on the ice, upon entering or leaving the facility and while inside where social distancing cannot be maintained.

The memo outlines how teams can safely return to practice facilities, and the protocols players and staff must follow to do so. LeBrun added that participation during this phase is strictly voluntary, and players outside of their home cities are not yet required to return. The memo also states that based on the current information available, the NHL is now targeting a date in early June for a transition to Phase 2. This will give the New York Rangers time to determine where they want to train and provide players with guidance on how and when to return.

LeBrun also says that when it comes to testing players and staff during Phase 2, the NHL will do so as long as tests are available. he also wrote that the memo also stated:

“As an over-riding principle, testing of asymptomatic players and club personnel must be done in the context of excess testing capacity, so as to not deprive health care workers, vulnerable populations, and symptomatic individuals from necessary diagnostic tests.”

There were no mentions of Phase 3 (training camp) and Phase 4 (return to play) in the memo, but this is a positive sign for the New York Rangers and their fans that hockey will return at some point in the near future.