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NHL announces 'Return to Play' plan with Las Vegas as a possible hub city for playoff action

Posted at 7:34 PM, May 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-27 09:20:27-04

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — The NHL officially announced its “Return to Play” plan Tuesday, which means Vegas Golden Knights players will likely be making their way back to Las Vegas in the next couple weeks and for the first time in months, they'll be allowed to start practicing at City National Arena.

The NHL didn't announce an exact date of when Phase 2 will begin but Commissioner Gary Bettman said that will likely be in early June.

At that point, players will be allowed to train on and off the ice in small groups.

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Based on guidance from health officials, the league would likely then transition to Phase 3 sometime in July, but no earlier.

That is when formal training camps are set to begin.

And Phase 4 is where a playoff would begin with 24 teams, 12 from each conference.

The teams would be designated to one of two hub cities. Ten cities, including Las Vegas, are being considered. The NHL expects to have a decision on hub cities in 3-4 weeks.

Because the Golden Knights finished the season at the top of the Pacific division, they will likely play in a round-robin tournament with the top three teams from the Western Conference to decide seeding.

The format of the four-round playoff has not been finalized. Bettman said while the league is hopeful they'll be able to finish the season, they'll only do so if they can do it safely.

"We remain focused on the safety of our players, coaches, support staff and arena personnel. We will not set dates or begin to play until we know it is appropriate and prudent and we're approved to do so," said Bettman.