The National Hockey League says 11 players have tested positive for COVID-19 since Phase 2 of the league’s return-to-play plan began on June 8.
In a statement released Friday, the NHL says more than 200 players have been tested since it began allowing clubs to open facilities for small group skates earlier this month.
“Since NHL clubs were permitted to open their training facilities on June 8, all players entering these facilities for voluntary training have been subject to mandatory testing for COVID-19,” the statement reads. “Through (Friday), in excess of 200 players have undergone multiple testing. A total of 11 of these players have tested positive.
“All players who have tested positive have been self-isolated and are following CDC and Health Canada protocols. The NHL will provide a weekly update on the number of tests administered to players and the results of those tests. The league will not be providing information on the identity of the players or their clubs.”
Earlier Friday, the Tampa Bay Lighting announced they had closed their training facilities after multiple team employees, including three players, had tested positive for the coronavirus.
The NHL’s Phase 2 of returning to play allows teams to open training facilities in their home cities to groups no bigger than six players. Phase 3 — which includes the opening of training camps for the 24 teams that could resume play under a modified playoff format — is currently scheduled to begin July 10.
The NHL has been shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic since March 12. If play is able to resume, 12 teams from each conference will report to two yet-to-be named hub cities for games. No timeline for when those games will occur has been announced, but the format will see the top four teams from each conference play each other for seeding. Teams five through 12 in each conference will be paired up and play in a best-of-five series to determine the final four playoff spots in each conference.