General manager Don Waddell told the News & Observer on Friday that the NHL discussed PNC Arena as a potential site but needed practice facilities for eight teams to conduct training camps simultaneously. The team’s practice facility in Morrisville, which would have two available sheets of ice, is still under construction.
“We’d love to be in a position to host for multiple reasons,” Waddell said. “We’re not at the top of the list, but we’re still talking about it.”
Even if one of the two ice sheets at the Hurricanes’ new practice facility in Morrisville is ready by June, which Waddell said is possible, the Triangle would just meet the bare minimum of the NHL’s needs in that respect, although the arena and area are otherwise capable.
Waddell said the NHL believes it can complete the remainder of a 76-game regular season in 13 days and a full 82-game season in 24 days of play at four neutral sites before going straight into the playoffs, presumably without fans.
As we reported on Friday, it appears that a plan may finally be emerging with regards to completing the 2019-2020 season, which includes completing the 2019-2020 regular season at four NHL cities.
The NHL is currently in the process of picking four cities to finish the regular season but sports will start out without fans in arenas. According to The Athletic‘s Pierre LeBrun, St. Paul, Edmonton, Las Vegas, Pittsburgh, Toronto, Columbus, and Dallas were among the 12 cities being discussed for neutral-site games
On Friday the New York Post reported that Toronto and Columbus are leading contenders to become two of the four host cities. The plan would be for all teams to hold their training camps of up to three weeks at their assigned centralized locations.
This means players on clubs that advance deep into the playoffs following the planned hypothetical completion of the regular season would be segregated from society — and, more to the point, their families — for nearly four months.
By Jon Sorensen