NHL Continues Patient Return to Play Efforts
Play in the National Hockey League was suspended on March 12. The American Hockey League which is the top developmental league of the NHL also suspended play on that date and then last week called off the rest of the season. But, the NHL is still contemplating a return to action. However, there are many bumps in the road to do that.
According to the latest reports on nhl.com Commissioner Gary Bettman continues to remain hopeful that the regular season can finish and the Stanley Cup Playoffs can follow. Prior to coming up with a solid return plan a number of issues have to be solved. The NHL has formed a Return to Play Committee consisting of executives and players.
Writing on NHL.com Nicholas J. Cotsonika notes that the NHL is looking at eight or nine locations that could serve as hubs where multiple teams can train and play. Venues would have to have multiple locker rooms and have hotels and dining areas available to accommodate several teams.
Commissioner Bettman said "We'd like to complete the season. We'd like to award the Stanley Cup, the most treasured trophy and the most historic trophy in all of sports." According to the Commissioner quarantine and border issues need to be resolved. 17 percent of the NHL players are from outside of North America and teams need a safe way to get them back into Canada or the United States to begin to train.
The Commissioner also says that if necessary the NHL can play through the summer and into the fall months. That would set the stage for a new season to begin in December instead of October.