Hockey became the latest sport to finalize a plan to return to play during the coronavirus pandemic after NHL owners and players approved an agreement Friday to resume the season — and with it secured labor peace through September 2026.

Games are scheduled to begin Aug. 1 in Toronto and Edmonton. The Wild's play-in postseason series against Vancouver will start Aug. 2 in Edmonton.

The NHL postseason will be at two sites, with the Eastern Conference teams playing in Toronto and the Western Conference playing in Edmonton.

The Wild's games against the Canucks will be on Aug. 2, Aug. 4 and Aug. 6. Game 4, if necessary, would be on Aug. 7, and Game 5, if necessary, would be on Aug. 9.

The Wild starts practice under interim coach Dean Evason on Monday at Tria Rink in St. Paul and will leave for Edmonton on July 26.

The NHLPA and the league approved a four-year extension on a collective bargaining agreement Friday to pave the way for a return to play this season.

"This agreement is a meaningful step forward for the players and owners, and for our game, in a difficult and uncertain time," NHLPA Executive Director Don Fehr said. "We are pleased to be able to bring NHL hockey back to the fans."

The CBA extension includes an agreement to send players to the Olympics in 2022 and 2026 — pending an agreement with the International Olympic Committee and International Ice Hockey Federation — and includes some salary deferrals that allow both sides to bear the brunt of losses from the pandemic and share in the benefits of an upcoming U.S. TV rights contract.


ESPN reporter apologizes to senator

ESPN and its lead NBA reporter, Adrian Wojnarowski, apologized for an e-mail that Wojnarowski sent to Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., that included an expletive.

Wojnarowski was responding to a Hawley statement that criticized the NBA for allowing messages that promote social justice on player jerseys.

Wojnarowski tweeted an apology, writing, "I was disrespectful and I made a regrettable mistake."

ESPN released a statement that said, "It is inexcusable for anyone working for ESPN to respond in the way Adrian did to Sen. Hawley."

College sports

Pac-12 decides on conference-only fall

The Pac-12 became the second major conference to shift to a conference-only fall schedule because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The announcement came a day after the Big Ten opted to eliminate nonconference games for fall sports.

The Atlantic Coast, Big 12 and Southeastern conferences are still weighing options for fall sports. On Wednesday, the Ivy League became the first Division I conference to suspend all fall sports until at least January, leaving open the possibility of moving some sports to the spring if the pandemic is under better control.

Around the horn

Golf: Miguel Angel Jimenez moved into position to break his own record as the oldest winner of a European Tour event when the 56-year-old Spaniard shot a 7-under 65 to take the second-round lead in the Austrian Open in Atzenbrugg. Jimenez was 50 years, 133 days old when he won the Open de Espana in 2014 to become the oldest winner on the tour.

Women's college basketball: Duke is in talks with Boston Celtics assistant coach and former WNBA All-Star Kara Lawson to lead its women's basketball program, a person familiar with the situation said. Lawson, 39, would replace Joanne P. McCallie, who announced last week she wouldn't return for a 14th season.