The National Hockey League has been forced to suspend the 2019 - 2020 NHL regular season, at least for the foreseeable future, but the season may not be the only thing the league is forced to sacrifice as a result of the current situation surrounding the globe. Although losing the regular season and potentially the playoffs as well would be a huge blow to the league, the offseason activities usually presented by the NHL may come to a grinding halt as well.
There was been serious concern regarding what will happen with the upcoming NHL draft, an event that features a ton of people on hand including fans, current players, prospects, and team personnel. All that without mentioning the event and security staff that will be required if the draft were to go forward, and perhaps for those very reasons it is starting to sound like the NHL may have to take some drastic measures regarding the draft. In a recent update from National Football League insider Adam Schefter of ESPN, we learned that the NFL would be moving to a virtual model for their draft as a result of the current global situation.
High-level officials from multiple NFL teams are now preparing to do the April 23-25 draft virtually, from home, away from their team facilities, league sources tell ESPN. Awaiting final decision from NFL on an unprecedented draft.
Although not official, Schefter is an impeccable reporter and if teams are gearing up for a draft of this nature you have to assume that is effectively a forgone conclusion with everyone still currently on lockdown. Interestingly enough it sounds like this could very well pave the way for how the National Hockey League will handle things according to TSN NHL insider Pierre LeBrun, although LeBrun admits that the league is still holding out hope of having a somewhat normal draft.
The NHL is paying very close attention to this as it, too, could be headed for a virtual draft although that’s still undecided. I think NHL would rather do a scaled-down version of the draft as preferred option, with some fans and prospects, etc. But may be forced to go virtual. And of course, the NHL doesn’t know yet when its draft will be held. If there’s August playoffs, then maybe it’s in September or October. If the NHL season is cancelled, then a summer draft but in which form, scaled-down or virtual? No answers yet.
Again given the current climate it sounds like virtual will be the only way to go, and it will be interesting how the leagues will make this an interesting and entertaining event for fans.