McGuire Wire – August 1 – HOCKEY IS BACK!

Hey Railers fans, Cam McGuire here checking in for another McGuire Wire and it’s official hockey is back!!

Well, it’s been 143 days since we saw the last real hockey game being played. The NHL is back and I have to say that I am really impressed with how the league has handled the COVID-19 pandemic and the return to play. Well the NHL will officially return to play today (Saturday August 1) but teams have been at training camps in their respective cities the last couple of weeks and had a chance to participate in exhibition games this week in their hub cities. I’ll breakdown some of the details for you with the return to play including who is participating, how the format is set up, and my three takeaways from watching the exhibition games.

Timeline of Return to Play

After a lengthy discussion about where to place the hub cities it was determined on July 10 that Toronto would host the eastern conference and Edmonton would host the western conference. Las Vegas and Vancouver were also considered finalists for the hub cities.

Most of the teams arrived in their hub cities either this past Sunday with a lot of uncertainty when they will be able to see their friends and families again depending on how deep they make it into the playoffs. Per nhl.nbcsports.com see below for key return to play dates.

July 13: Training camps open
July 26: Teams report to hub city
July 28-30: Exhibition games
August 1: Stanley Cup Qualifiers begin
August 11: First Round begins
August 25: Second Round begins.
September 8: Conference Finals begin
September 22: Stanley Cup Final begins
October 4: Last Day for Stanley Cup

Players know it may be a while before they see their friends and families again, depending on how deep they make it into the playoffs. If a team makes it all the way to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup, that will mean they could potentially be in their hub city for 70 days. That’s a long time to be gone from home, especially for guys with young kids. If you ask any of them though, I’m sure they would agree that the time away from home is worth it for a chance to say “I’m a Stanley Cup Champion!”