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With the possibility of neutral site games now considered a “no-go”, numerous NHL teams, including the Washington Capitals, have offered to host centralized games to resume the 2019-20 season. Several other teams in cities where the number of coronavirus cases is slower like the Vegas Golden Knights, Nashville Predators, Arizona Coyotes, and Carolina Hurricanes have all expressed interest in doing so as well, according to The Fourth Period’s David Pagnotta.
It is still too early to determine what plan NHL will execute. The next two weeks should play a big role in the next steps for most sports leagues as the major three who are supposed to be playing now are on pause due to the pandemic.
Hearing the favorites are Raleigh, Minnesota, Edmonton and TBD in the Atlantic Division https://t.co/ZbiIXDycHQ
— Emily Kaplan (@emilymkaplan) April 22, 2020
The league is hoping to play in four cities where restrictions are eased. Glendale, Raleigh, and St. Paul (home of the Minnesota Wild) are the favorites to host such games. The Atlantic Divison location has yet to be revealed, though professional sports are labeled as essential businesses in Florida so perhaps Tampa and Sunrise (home of the Florida Panthers) are on the table.
These signs point towards resuming the regular season, which commissioner Gary Bettman has previously said is the goal but acknowledged that it might not be possible. There is not a timetable to resume the season yet and the NHLPA needs to approve of any plan the league thinks of.
Sportsnet’s Elliotte Freidman has reported that plans for games to be played in remote locations like North Dakota and New Hampshire that the league previously explored are now dead. In fact, the plan never got out of the concept stages due to lack of accommodations, and challenges in staging and televising games.
For the number of coronavirus cases per state, click here.
United States president Donald Trump has expressed that he wants pro sports back as soon as possible but it might start in empty arenas and have to work up to full arenas again.
By Harrison Brown