The NBA and MLB are back in camp and preparing to resume play. And the NFL is preparing to start their 2020 season. On August the NHL will return to the ice. For a couple of months at least sports fans who have been starved over the past four months for a game will have a plethora of choices to fulfill their hunger for a game.

The pact agreed upon on July 10, 2020 puts players back on the ice in as safe a manner as possible and guarantees play through the 2026 season.

With the recent surge in cases of the COVID-19 virus across the United States, the NHL has selected the eastern city of Toronto, Ontario and the western city of Edmonton, Alberta as the hub cities where the teams will play.

As the Canadian national pastime, it is only fitting that the games be played north of the border. To minimize the risk of spreading the virus, the NHL has selected two hub cities where the teams will play all of their games.

Training camp opens July 13 and it is the deadline for any player who wishes to declare that he will not resume play for the remainder of the 2020 season without receiving a penalty.

Saying, “being my little kids’ dad every day is the most important job I have,” Calgary Flames defenseman Travis Hamonic has stated that he will not return to play. His daughter was in the hospital last year with a respiratory illness.

Once play begins, there will be no fans in the stands and there will be a multiple gamer per day as the 24 teams work their way to the final matchup of the season for the Stanley Cup in early autumn.

The top four teams from each conference – Boston, Tampa Bay, Washington, Philadelphia, St. Louis, Colorado, Vegas and Dallas – earn a bye in the qualifying round and will play round robin games to determine seeding.

The qualifying round is a best of five series that matches:
Pittsburgh against Montreal
Carolina against the New York Rangers
New York Islanders against Florida
Toronto against Columbus
Edmonton against Chicago
Nashville against Arizona
Vancouver against Minnesota
Calgary against Winnipeg

The Hurricanes and Rangers, Islanders and Panthers, and Penguins and Canadiens kick things off in Toronto while the Oilers and Blackhawks and the Flames and Jets get the season started in Calgary with a 52 game qualifying round in nine days.

On August 10 the league takes a break for the draft lottery.

The second round of games – first playoff round – begins on August 11 with the first of the best of seven games series. The teams will be reseeded after each round of games.

Each team is limited to a total of 52 personnel with a maximum of 31 players. All personnel NHL, arena, hotel, and restaurant staff will be tested daily. The players will be quarantined for added safety.

The NHL 2020 first round schedule:
August 1 –
New York Rangers vs. Carolina Hurricanes, Game 1
Florida Panthers vs. New York Islanders, Game 1
Montreal Canadiens vs. Pittsburgh Penguins, Game
1

Chicago Blackhawks vs. Edmonton Oilers, Game 1
Winnipeg Jets vs. Calgary Flames, Game 1

August 2 –
Columbus Blue Jackets vs. Toronto Maple Leafs, Game 1
Philadelphia Flyers vs. Boston Bruins

Minnesota Wild vs. Vancouver Canucks, Game 1
Arizona Coyotes vs. Nashville Predators, Game 1

St. Louis Blues vs. Colorado Avalanche

August 3 –
New York Rangers vs. Carolina Hurricanes, Game 2
Montreal Canadiens vs. Pittsburgh Penguins, Game 2
Washington Capitals vs. Tampa Bay Lightning
Winnipeg Jets vs. Calgary Flames, Game 2
Chicago Blackhawks vs. Edmonton Oilers, Game 2

Dallas Stars vs. Vegas Golden Knights
August 4 –

Florida Panthers vs. New York Islanders, Game 2
Carolina Hurricanes vs. New York Rangers, Game 3
Columbus Blue Jackets vs. Toronto Maple Leafs, Game 2
Calgary Flames vs. Winnipeg Jets, Game 3
Nashville Predators vs. Arizona Coyotes, Game 3
Minnesota Wild vs. Vancouver Canucks, Game 2

August 5 –
New York Islanders vs. Florida Panthers, Game 3
Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Montreal Canadiens, Game 3
Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Boston Bruins
Nashville Predators vs. Arizona Coyotes, Game 3
Edmonton Oilers vs. Chicago Blackhawks, Game 3

Colorado Avalanche vs. Dallas Stars
August 6 –

Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Columbus Blue Jackets, Game 3
Carolina Hurricanes vs. New York Rangers, Game 4*
Washington Capitals vs. Philadelphia Flyers
Vancouver Canucks vs. Minnesota Wild, Game 3
Calgary Flames vs. Winnipeg Jets, Game 4*

Vegas Golden Knights vs. St. Louis Blues
August 7 –

New York Islanders vs. Florida Panthers, Game 4*
Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Montreal Canadiens, Game 4*
Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Columbus Blue Jackets, Game 4*

Nashville Predators vs. Arizona Coyotes, Game 4*
Vancouver Canucks vs. Minnesota Wild, Game 4*
Edmonton Oilers vs. Chicago Blackhawks, Game 4*

August 8 –
New York Rangers vs. Carolina Hurricanes, Game 5*
Montreal Canadiens vs. Pittsburgh Penguins, Game 5*
Boston Bruins vs. Washington Capitals
Winnipeg Jets vs. Calgary Flames, Game 5*
Chicago Blackhawks vs. Edmonton Oilers, Game 5*

Vegas Golden Knights vs. Colorado Avalanche

August 9 –
Florida Panthers vs. New York Islanders, Game 5*
Columbus Blue Jackets vs. Toronto Maple Leafs,
Game 5*
Philadelphia Flyers vs. Tampa Bay Lightning
Minnesota Wild vs. Vancouver Canucks, Game 5*
Arizona Coyotes vs. Nashville Predators, Game 5*

Dallas Stars vs. St. Louis Blues

* if necessary