In a one-two punch of press releases, the National Hockey League just unleashed a tsunami of good news this evening. To begin with, the league and the players’ union are finalizing the last touches on returning to play for the 19-20 season. Training camps are scheduled to open July 13th for the two dozen teams marching into the playoffs. On July 26th, those 24 teams will travel to their designated hub cities with Western Conference teams playing in Edmonton and Eastern Conference teams facing off in Toronto.

Bleacher Report states that there will be a handful of exhibition games between teams, though the real action commences on August 1st. The NHL is not officially labeling that opening round as part of the Stanley Cup Playoffs and will not do so until the field is whittled down to the traditional sixteen playoff teams. The Stanley Cup Finals will be expected to take place sometime during October.

If that progress wasn’t enough to define some positive motivation, both the NHL and NHL Player’s Association are just about to ink an extension to their current collective bargaining agreement. Like the return to play, it isn’t a done deal, but it is just about there. The extension would add another four years to the current deal carrying into the 2025-26 season.

So not only did the league and players just ratify their resumption of play tonight, they also took a big step into the future by eliminating any possible labor disputes well into the middle of the decade.

Hopefully, Major League Baseball is paying attention to all of this. This is what streamlined progress looks like.

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