Call it the first step in a long, careful process.
Those Toronto Maple Leafs players already in the city are undergoing testing for COVID-19 Friday as the National Hockey League shifts into Phase 2 of its return-to-play plan Monday.
A voluntary move from self-quarantine to small-group workouts on and off the ice at the club’s training facility, Ford Performance Centre, will commence next week for players who clear testing.
Physicals will be followed by individualized training activities in groups that cannot exceed six players at once, per the NHL and NHLPA’s agreement.
Meeting all of the health and safety guidelines of Ontario, MLSE and the NHL to open up for Phase 2 has been “very time-consuming,” GM Kyle Dubas said during Wednesday’s In Conversation appearance with Ron MacLean.
It is also expensive. Not all of the 24 clubs with 2020 Stanley Cup hopes will be able to open Phase 2 Monday, even with the league’s green light.