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NHLPA board approves hockey return plan; players to vote next

Donald Fehr and Gary Bettman came one step closer Tuesday to successfully completing their work getting a plan in place for the NHL to complete its 2019-20 season.
Donald Fehr and Gary Bettman came one step closer Tuesday to successfully completing their work getting a plan in place for the NHL to complete its 2019-20 season.Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press

The National Hockey League moved one step closer to a return to the ice on Tuesday night, the executive board of the Players’ Association approving the plans that could have games underway in Toronto and Edmonton by Aug. 1.

The tentative return-to-play plan and four-year extension of the collective bargaining agreement, agreed to on Monday, now go to the full membership of the NHLPA for a vote beginning Wednesday. Players will have until Friday to submit their ballots electronically, with the decision of the 900-plus members ultimately determining if training camps can begin on Monday.

The league’s Board of Governors also must give the plan a two-thirds majority, but both that and the NHLPA’s approval — a simple majority — are expected.

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Teams would travel to their designated hub cities — Toronto, in Boston’s case — on July 26, to be tested and sheltered until the round-robin and play-in games begin. The Bruins are slated to be part of a four-team round-robin with Philadelphia, Washington, and Tampa Bay to decide the top four seeds in the Eastern Conference playoffs.