The NHL Board of Governors talked for around 105 minutes on Monday to discuss the idea of holding the 2020 NHL Draft in early June. The infectious disease consultant was on the call as has been the case on every call since the league paused on March 12 to update the governors about the status of the coronavirus pandemic.
It may take until late this week or next that the NHL announces the fate of the draft, which will be held electronically. There are still issues surrounding that, according to The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun.
Commissioner Gary Bettman also updated the governors about the possibility of playing in four cities for the rest of the 2019-20 regular season. 14 teams have made bids to host games, per LeBrun. The NHL is working with the players association as many are concerned about being away from their families for weeks and/or months if they were to play the rest of the regular season in a centralized location.
The Return To Play Committee, which includes players, will meet with the NHL for the fourth time on Wednesday.
The NHL is hoping to move to phase two of resuming the 2019-20 season, which is allowing players to skate in small groups, by the end of May “but that’s subject to a review and it’s too early to review that process,” TSN’s Darren Dreger said.
“The NHL is hopeful that they will be able to initiate Phase 2 in later May, but that’s all subject to a review and it is too early to start the review process. The NHL though is encouraged by the markets that are loosening up and are cautiously optimistic, and monitoring carefully to see if there will be any setbacks. The modo is Better safe, then sorry.
Phase 2 can’t really get started the large majority of the NHL teams are able to open up and that means players coming back. But here’s an interesting twist to all that: even though the majority of clubs may be able to open up, unless they can all about up at the same time or around the same time, the NHL isn’t going to allow players to go to their clubs’ facility again. Until the majority are able to do that.”
The league is encouraged by the fact that some states that are home to NHL teams are loosening restrictions but still taking a cautious approach to see if there are any setbacks. Phase Two will not occur until “a majority” of the NHL teams are not restricted, Dreger continued. The NHL won’t let anyone skate at the rink until all players have that option available to them.
Frank Seravalli said that the NHL will leave it up to teams to give fans refunds for postponed games as United States President Donald Trump stated a few weeks ago that professional sports will return without fans at first. Many teams are starting to plan for that and a majority are going to put that money towards next season’s ticket plans.
By Harrison Brown