The NHL is coming back, but when and where we don’t exactly know yet.
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman guaranteed hockey fans that the league will return at some point this spring/summer earlier this week, but admitted that logistics need to be sorted out. The league is currently looking at 24-team playoff format and hub cities, but has been tight lipped on any potential plans.
It seems like we are getting closer and closer to a return as of Tuesday when California Gov. Gavin Newsom says the state could see pro sports return by the first week of June without fans.
Everyone freaked out, especially hockey fans, when Canada and the United States agreed on Tuesday to keep their shared border closed until at least June 21.
However, it seems that the NHL has found a way to be exempted from this rule : as TSN’s Frank Seravalli reports, “the border only remains closed for “non-essential travel,” which is defined as tourism, recreation and entertainment. Healthy people may continue to cross the border for “non-discretionary” reasons – for work and employment purposes - and NHL players and team personnel fall into that category.”
Therefore, as NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly explained the league and NHLPA’s plans are not expected to be altered, as they continue to work toward resuming the 2019-20 season this summer.
The league is still looking at potential hub cities to host games and now that California is in the mix, a decision could be coming soon.