NHL training camps penciled in for July 10 opening date

AP photo by Gene J. Puskar / Pittsburgh Penguins forward Jake Guentzel celebrates after scoring against the visiting Colorado Avalanche on Oct. 16, 2019.

The NHL and the NHL Players' Association gave the go-ahead Thursday for teams to open training camp July 10 in the next step forward toward completing the pandemic-delayed 2019-20 season.

The league and the union have already approved a 24-team playoff format but still need to decide on testing and health and safety protocols, along with potential host cities for the games.

"I think safety's first and foremost," Pittsburgh Penguins forward Jake Guentzel said earlier this week. "I still think there's a lot to go into it."

Camps are expected to last two weeks, if not slightly longer. Under this timeline, exhibition games could begin as soon as July 24 with playoff games starting roughly a week later.

Setting a July 10 start for camps allows players to make arrangements to return to their home cities in light of quarantine regulations in Canada and the United States.