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 playoff formats and host cities, but has been tight lipped on any potential plans.
Arizona state governor Doug Ducey has officially opened his state for professional sports, provided there are no fans in attendance.
Arizona will officially re-open on Saturday, May 16th:
“It would be, at this point in time, according to the CDC guidelines, without fans,” Ducey said at a news conference. Citing his public health director, he said, “We could do that safely in the state of Arizona beginning May 16.”
The state of Arizona is home to, of course, the NHL’s Arizona Coyotes, but also the NBA's Suns, the NFL's Cardinals, the WNBA's Mercury and MLB's Diamondbacks, among other pro teams.
The governor went on to say that he has had discussions with “leaders of some of these leagues” but did not say which ones or elaborate on which decide to host games in Arizona. Last month, he said he had spoken with Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred and was open to hosting games.
Another option for the NHL could be Florida, which was re-opened by governor Ron DeSantis this past week and hosted UFC 249 in Jacksonville this past weekend. Governor DeSantis is welcoming professional sports teams, including the NHL, to Florida.
"What I would tell commissioners of leagues is, if you have a team in an area where they just won't let them operate, we'll find a place for you here in the state of Florida."
Texas is another state that has opened up in the past two weeks, but no professional sports teams are in operation in the state just yet. Still... are we finally at the stage where we could see some NHL hockey soon?