David Zalubowski/Associated Press
The NHL has reportedly set a start date for the 24-team postseason format.
Per Larry Brooks of the New York Post, the qualifying rounds for the Stanley Cup tournament will begin July 30, though the hub cities for both conferences have yet to be determined.
Brooks noted training camps will last two weeks, followed by teams playing one exhibition game each after traveling to their hub city on either July 23 or 24. Commissioner Gary Bettman announced the NHL’s return-to-play plan in May, with the top 12 teams in each conference advancing to a revamped postseason.
The league and players union agreed to the format June 9, starting with the top four teams in the East and West playing a round-robin format for seeding and teams ranked Nos. 5-12 in each conference playing a best-of-five series qualifier for the right to advance to the traditional first round.
The NHL announced Friday that since entering phase two of its return plan June 8, 11 players have tested positive for COVID-19 among more than 200 tests administered. The second phase allows for players to take part in voluntary workouts at their team’s training facilities.
Phase three of the plan will be the opening of training camps for all of the playoff teams July 10.