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.
On Tuesday, Adrian Dater of Colorado Hockey Now reports that Arizona is now emerging as top candidate as NHL playoff hub.
On top of that, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey announced Tuesday that major professional sports can resume playing in the state as of Saturday.
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 Coyotes’ arena just has some great assets to host such a playoff tournament in order to keep players safe. Gila River Arena has four, including the home, visiting and two auxiliary dressing rooms, plus celebrity dressing rooms. Arizona and Maricopa County have some of the lower per capita COVID-19 rates in the nation.
We wonder what players will have to say about spending the summer in Arizona...