The NHL season has been on hold since March 12 and at this point it remains unclear when, or if, it will be able to resume. The league is now focusing on selecting up to four sites to use as “hub cities” in a possible return to play and according to Pierre LeBrun, we are getting closer to find out where the action could take place.
Here is how he explained it on last night’s Insider Trading on TSN:
“They’ve started to cut down the list, at the very least. There were 15 teams that showed interest in being a host city. Over the past week, I’m told, the NHL has started telling some of those teams that they’re no longer in the mix. There’s about eight or nine teams that are seen still as potential candidates to be one of those four host cities. I’m told that the three Canadian teams — Edmonton, Vancouver and Toronto — are among the teams still in it, as well as Vegas and Minnesota among others.”
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.
Contests would be played in an empty arena, with no fans allowed to come and watch the games.
The league still has to cut the list of remaining possible hubs in half before they can announce the plan to host games.