Information reported earlier today, that the NHL is tentatively planning on starting to play games again in July. Reports today have noted that the NHL will use 4-5 neutral sites with limited or no fans and the NHL using a collection of existing rinks. Details have been sparse, but any news around hockey(or any sport) coming back feels like good news. I think at this point we all long to have our favorite sports back, even if we can’t go see the games in person.
JUST IN: NHL looking at restarting season in July.— Andy Slater (@AndySlater) April 22, 2020
Games would be played at 4 or 5 neutral sites with limited or no fans, according to Florida Panthers president Matt Caldwell.
On the conference call, he said this plan is not finalized.
If the NHL is to use a collection of rinks in areas where the COVID-19 outbreak has been thought to be less affected, the expectation would be that the NHL would play out the final 3 weeks of the schedule out, then move into the playoffs. The three initial sites rumored are Edmonton, Minnesota(I assume that means Minneapolis-St.Paul), and Raleigh. There hasn’t been a site established yet from the Atlantic division, but with the state of Florida already making professional sports and essential service, you would expect either Tampa or Sunrise to be the final location.
There are still a lot of details that are yet to be released, like testing plans, how teams will travel when they play outside their division, what playoffs will look like. what happens if a player test positive, etc. but this is a start. For many hockey fans, and fantasy hockey fans especially, there is reason to be hopeful that we can see the season finish out, we will see how the goals races play out(Pastrnak, Ovechkin, and Matthews all within a single goal), our fantasy playoffs and DFS leagues will get a proper conclusion and for possibly the first time there will be exciting hockey for the first time in July!