On Tuesday night, it was reported that Arizona wascemerging as top candidate as NHL playoff hub. Rumours were fed by the announcement of Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, who revealed that major professional sports can resume playing in the state as of Saturday.
However, the NHL put a stop to all the celebration from fans hoping to see hockey return shortly. Later that same night, Coyotes insider Craig Morgan of The Athletic revealed that a league source said the idea that Arizona has emerged as a leading potential NHL playoff hub is “completely false.”
“It’s a fluid situation so maybe that will change if the NHL runs out of options, but as reported previously, AZ appears to be a fallback option.”
It has been reported that there are between nine and 14 teams bidding to host what are expected to be four National Hockey League playoff “tournaments,” should the league be able to resume play this summer.
The NHL recently abandoned the idea of hosting games at non-NHL rinks, with commissioner Gary Bettman citing a lack of accommodations and difficulty televising the games at smaller venues. This NHL hub-city scenario was popular amongst the NHL as a solution to get hockey back sooner, however, players remain unsure about the idea of staying away from family for months, locked down in a hotel room and going to games.
It remains to be seen what cities will TRULY emerge as top candidate to host NHL games during the summer, if hockey can return.
For now, it seems like it is two step forward, one step back.