John Tavares, Connor McDavid, Mark Scheifele, James van Riemsdyk and Ron Hainsey have all accepted roles on the NHL's Return to Play Committee, joining high-ranking officials from the NHL and NHLPA in discussing potential scenarios for resuming play, according to TSN Hockey Insider Pierre LeBrun.
Tavares told LeBrun in The Athletic Monday that he accepted a role to help share what would be needed for players to be comfortable with a return to the ice.
“I was asked to be a part of it and I’m obviously happy to help and communicate with as many guys as I can and get a general feeling on what we feel is going to be best, collectively, going forward coming out of this, how best to deal with this situation,” Tavares said. “Obviously, timing is very important from a health and safety standpoint to proper preparation and then how to play with integrity and fairness to award the Stanley Cup. All that is part of this and I’m just happy to be part of it.’’
LeBrun reports the committee has met twice already over virtual calls and plans to do so at least once a week moving forward. The NHL season has been paused since March 12 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and Tavares said that sports should not be the top priority at the moment.
“It’s just trying to make the best decisions possible with the most amount of information you have in front of you to get the best result,” Tavares said. “Do the best you can for everyone as players and for the game as a whole. We want to get back playing and we want to play for the Stanley Cup. But we also understand there’s a lot more going on than the game, and just keep things in perspective and try to understand that.’’
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said last week the league has been busy “modelling” different scenarios for a potential summer restart to the 2019-20 season, which could include resuming play in two to four centralized locations if deemed safe.
The NBA released a list of guidelines on Monday for the reopening of team facilities, announcing that facilities can open no earlier than May 8, provided that there is no stay-at-home order in place by local government. However, a maximum of four players would be allowed in the facility at any one time.