NHL Inching Closer to Restart Plan: North Dakota Site Nixed

Written by:
Dan Shapiro
Published on:

The National Hockey League (NHL) is closing in on a plan to restart the season.  The coronavirus pandemic has shut down sporting events worldwide.

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Venues in less populated regions that were not as impacted by the pandemic were on the table for consideration, including the University of North Dakota.  New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu said he had discussions with the NHL about hosting games at Southern New Hampshire University as well.

From ESPN.com:

The league is looking at regional NHL arenas, aligned by division, where teams could potentially finish their seasons. Sources tell ESPN that the current favorites are the home rinks for the Carolina Hurricanes (Metropolitan Division), Edmonton Oilers (Pacific Division) and Minnesota Wild (Central Division). A front-runner from the Atlantic Division has yet to emerge.

The NHL's goal remains to finish the regular season, which had 189 games remaining when it was paused due to the COVID-19 outbreak on March 12. One concept would be to play multiple games throughout the day at these sites, like one would see at international tournaments.

Florida Panthers CEO Matthew Caldwell says he anticipates the season restarting this summer.

"The players right now are all quarantined. I know for the NHL, our players are quarantined through the end of April, and that will probably be extended into May. But when we are able to come out of the quarantine period, players are going to need time to work out. I think all leagues are thinking about some training camp that we would do before the start of the season," Caldwell said on a Re-Open Florida Task Force conference call, as first reported by "The Andy Slater Show."

"So that's going to take us into the June time frame. At least with the NHL, we're trying to target some time in July. When we feel that players are safe, and we have enough testing and we have enough ways to get back on the ice, for us it's probably going to be contained at playing at four or five neutral sites. So that's all being discussed right now. My guess is that we would start with limited fans or empty arenas. So just with the teams and the associated staffs," Caldwell said.

Another league source told ESPN they would consider starting before July if feasible.

The source said speculation that fans could return to arenas in a limited capacity for a season restart was premature.

- Dan Shapiro, Gambling911.com

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