NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly is hopeful that the NHL can complete the 2019-20 regular season and playoffs with a “bigger window” for games now available for this summer, and still play a full schedule in the 2020-21 season. Commissioner Garry Bettman previously stated that the two top priorities in scheduling for the League were to award a Stanley Cup for the 2019-2020 season, and to play a full 82-game schedule in 2020-2021.
“I will say that it remains our hope, if not our goal, to be playing hockey sooner than then,” Daly said Friday, as reported by NHL.com’s Nicholas Cotsonika. “Depending on how things play out, we’d love to be playing sometime in the spring, and then if we have to leak into early summer, we’d love to have that problem. But I don’t think we’re far enough along in understanding where this is going to know what’s possible at this point in time.”
That includes playing games in August.
“We think if we were required to, we might have the ability to play in August. If we have to fit games in, we’ll find ways to fit games in.”
It was reported earlier this week that the NHL asked all 31 teams to provide available home dates for the month of August.
“I think as time has gone on, we’ve recognized we might have a bigger window than we had originally thought with respect to the summer months and when we have to finish things to be ready for a full regular season next year,” Daly said.
Daley also reaffirmed on Friday that there will be enough time for an adeqaute training camp prior to the resumption of play.
“There’s going to be an adequate training camp with an ability to get back up to speed,” Daly said. “In terms of the first meaningful game, I’m not in a position to say what that’s going to look like, but we certainly understand the sentiment and the concerns about kind of jumping right back in.”