WASHINGTON, July 6 (Xinhua) -- The National Hockey League (NHL) announced on Monday that it is targeting an August 1 return to the season, which was halted by COVID-19 in March.
"As part of the tentative agreement, the following dates have been established: July 13 - Start of formal training camps; July 26 - Clubs travel to hub cities; August 1 - Start of Qualifying Round," the NHL said in a statement on Monday.
Local media reported that teams should arrive at their own facilities for training camps for a couple of weeks before traveling to one of two hub cities, Edmonton and Toronto, both in Canada.
The 12 Western Conference teams will report to Edmonton while 12 Eastern Conference teams will make the trip to Toronto. Las Vegas had long been considered a favorite to become a hub city, but COVID-19 cases on the rise in the United States made the NHL reconsider that location.
Under the new format, the top four clubs in each conference will play seeding games while the teams ranked fifth to 12th will meet in a five-game series to determine the four qualifiers that face the seeds in the opening round of the playoffs.