Colorado Avalanche players will have access to team facilities starting on Monday for both on-ice and off-ice training.
The Colorado Avalanche will soon be able to utilize their practice facilities at South Suburban Park and Recreation as part of the Phase 2 of the NHL’s response to the COVID-19 crisis.
Today, the NHL announced more information about Phase 2. They had previously released a lot of details to what it would look like. Essentially, players may only meet in groups of six — the same six each time — for informal practices at NHL faculties. Coaches and trainers couldn’t be on the ice, but they could be in the weight rooms. Exercise equipment had to be six feet apart.
Interestingly, players didn’t necessarily have to return to their NHL cities. NHL teams had to open up their facilities to any NHL players. Meanwhile, they’d get tested regularly and checked for symptoms.
The only real information the NHL and NHLPA — the two organizations agreed on the plan — didn’t release was when it would start. They had initially said “early June.”
Well, sure enough, the NHL announced today that Phase 2, the first part of Return to Play, would go into effect Monday, June 8.
The practices are purely voluntary. It’s not supposed to replicate training camp. Rather, it’s supposed to be a hybrid between players’ summer training and the informal captains’ camps that take place before training camp begins.
More from Mile High Sticking
- Could Colorado Avalanche move on from Pavel Francouz next offseason?
- 4 goalies to replace Pavel Francouz if he has to miss time
- Colorado Avalanche make sneaky signing with Tatar
- Colorado Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog could return in 2023-24 playoffs
- Colorado Avalanche rookie face-off tournament roster
Most players have been able to engage in workouts. Many of them have home gyms. Even if they didn’t, they’re highly likely to have credit cards with high limits to order some exercise equipment for wherever they hunkered down for Phase 1, which was self-quarantine.
The vast majority of players, though, have had little to no access to ice. A few industrious ones have skated on outdoor rinks or found private rinks to rent out. Most of them have invested in inline roller blades if they didn’t already have a pair. However, there’s no substitution for ice for hockey players. Indeed, this hiatus represents the longest span most of them have had to go without access to ice in a long time.
This Phase 2 is aimed at correcting that lack. Granted, not a one of them is going to forget to do a thing they’ve done since age one or two — ice skate. However, the skill does get rusty. What was once second nature suddenly requires thought to execute.
I think it’s a good thing Colorado Avalanche players will have a chance to hone their skills again. The only player I know who’s definitely returned is Sam Girard, thanks to his dog, Tornade. I’ve heard that Nathan MacKinnon and Tyson Jost are back in town, too.
Regardless, it looks like NHL hockey is going to return. I think it’s an awesome thing for the Colorado Avalanche and the world as a whole. We are living in historic times, and that’s trying. It would be nice to have an old favorite, Avs hockey, to look forward to for a while.