The NHL is still on track to open training camps on July 10th, although, like everything related to the ‘Return To Play’ plan, the date could be pushed back a few days. Also still to be determined are the final media rules and guidelines for covering the 2020 playoffs. Rob Corte, vice president of Sportsnet and NHL Production, said many of the tournament’s details – especially those related to the media – still haven’t been finalized.
According to Jim Morris of CBC Sports, games will be broadcast Olympic-style with commentators working remotely. Media will have no direct access to players or team officials. Interviews with players and coaches will be done through video conference technology like Zoom. Additionally, Steve Simmons recently reported there would be no media allowed in the hub cities at all.
Print journalists are also waiting to learn how they will go about their jobs.
“We have been told there has been no determination made yet in terms of media access and what that may or may not look like,” Frank Seravalli, president of the Professional Hockey Writers Association, said in an email. “The situation remains in flux.”
“You’re not going to have reporters doing a scrum or anything like that,” Corte said.
It should be noted that other sports that have already restarted, mainly NASCAR, PGA Golf and European Soccer, have found ways to accommodate media, on site, by wearing masks and utilizing microphone booms for interviews.
It still hasn’t been decided if games will be broadcast with fake crowd noise. Many English and European soccer league games are being shown with artificial noise.
“We’ve had lots of discussion with the National Hockey League and the other broadcasters and we haven’t landed on a decision,” Corte said. “There’s always going to be shots of the stands where you don’t see any people and you hear people cheering. Right away, that’s a visual cue that it’s not authentic.”
By Jon Sorensen