The National Hockey League has maintained optimism regarding a potential return to action that would salvage the 2019 - 2020 NHL regular season but given the current global situation that has at times seemed overly optimistic. It may very well be however that NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and the league know something that we don't however, because we now have a report that the NHL is considering a return to action in August.
According to a headline today from the CBC, an official broadcast partner of the National Hockey League the "NHL considering August return without fans." Although the report from the CBC seemingly contains no new information and no sources for this particular claim, given that they are a broadcast partner it may very well be that they are the source for this information. At this time no one has any idea what the logistics of this would look like but it seems that one thing is clear, there will be no fans in attendance for these games.
Over the weekend we reported on comments made by Sportsnet's NHL insider Elliotte Friedman regarding a potential return to action in a remote location, one that would not be in an NHL city and one that would feature no fans. From Friedman:
Several sites would be necessary, but Ralph Engelstad Arena in Grand Forks, N.D., makes sense. Host of the 2005 World Junior Championships, the 2016 World Under-18s and the NCAA’s Fighting Hawks, it is an impressive facility that is definitely more suitable than many other available non-NHL options in the United States.
Obviously, nothing is imminent. Hotel availability in Grand Forks would be a challenge. We also don’t know about travel scenarios, necessary logistics, or if the state itself would be willing to host such an event. But the area makes sense because of the arena, the likelihood of games being played without fans and North Dakota’s relatively low population density (only Montana, Wyoming and Alaska have fewer people per square mile).
It is expected that the NHL and NHLPA will discuss other locales this week. It’s never wrong to explore your options, regardless of what eventually happens.
It seems the NHL is indeed mobilizing to re-launch its suspended season in spite of our current global situation, it may be time for hockey fans to get their hopes up.