Get ready for summer hockey action.
The National Hockey League is getting closer to returning to the ice. When it does, 24 teams will compete for the Stanley Cup in a playoff tournament hosted in two cities.
According to multiple reports, Toronto and Edmonton will be announced as host cities. Choosing an American city would be insane, of course, given the country’s inability to manage the coronavirus. All games will be played in empty arenas.
The 12 best teams from each of the NHL’s two conferences qualified for the new playoff format, meaning seven teams were eliminated.
The tournament will begin with the Stanley Cup Qualifiers, which includes 16 teams playing eight best-of-5 series and a round-robin among the top four teams in each conference to determine seeds for the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
The league is currently in Phase 2 of its four-phase return-to-play plan. Small groups of players are allowed to skate around home ice under strict supervision. Full training camps are part of Phase 3, which will begin July 10th at the earliest. There is no date yet for the start of Phase 4, which will see games in Toronto and Edmonton.
It’s all a little confusing, but the important thing is that there will be NHL playoff hockey and all of it will take place in Canada.