The City of Boston took one more step toward the return of professional sports Friday — and it was a big one.
Massachusetts governor Charlie Baker on Friday announced pro sports teams in Boston can resume practicing at their respective facilities beginning Saturday, June 6. Those openings can be done, Baker said, under the guidelines and restrictions of each league, as attempts to return from the COVID-19 pandemic continue.
That’s a fairly large development in any potential return for Boston teams in the major sports leagues. With facilities open, teams obviously can return and start practicing and training again with an eye on a mid- to late-summer return. The NHL this week announced a return-to-play format that could see games resuming in late July, but the Bruins — who haven’t played since mid-March — will need time to ramp up their skating, even before an abbreviated training camp begins in mid-July. Now, they potentially could be able to return to Warrior Arena next week to start skating on their own.
As for the Celtics, they’ll be able to join a growing number of teams that have opened their buildings in recent days and weeks. The NBA has yet to announce any formal plans for a return.
This announcement also gives the Red Sox an option to restart spring training if and when the owners and players reach an agreement on a deal to start their 2020 season. The two sides still are working to strike some sort of a deal, and it’s a heated debate that could linger into June. Regardless, teams like the Rays and Astros have started to work out at their home ballparks, and it sounds as if the Red Sox will have a similar opportunity beginning June 6.
It will be interesting to see how this affects the Patriots, too, as they obviously haven’t been able to get on the field in Foxboro. However, a lot of what the Patriots — and any of the other Boston or New England sports teams — will be able to do in this next phase is based on their respective leagues’ guidelines, which is a point Baker made as well Friday.