NHL’s Hub Cities To Be Determined Weeks From Now
The NHL is determined to return this summer. To be fair, it’s one of the sports leagues with concrete plans. The league is now in phase 2 of its return-to-season protocols and may get back to action two months from now.
Part of the second phase is reopening team facilities this June. The NHL already determined the teams who are allowed to reopen based on state and city regulations. The decision on which hub city will host matches, however, is still months away.
Commissioner Gary Bettman said that 10 cities from the United States and Canada are being considered by the board, but they have yet to make a decision.
“I’m going to probably have to make a decision collectively on this probably in three weeks…I think in two weeks we’ll start narrowing down further. Somewhere around three weeks, we’re going to have to pull the trigger and finalize the arrangements and make the deposits,” Bettman said in an interview.
The league needs two cities to host all NHL matches. One city will host both the conference finals and Stanley Cup Final. Here are the 10 cities under consideration:
- Chicago, IL
- Columbus, OH
- Dallas, TX
- Edmonton, AB
- Las Vegas, NV
- Los Angeles, CA
- Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN
- Pittsburgh, PA
- Toronto, ON
- Vancouver, BC
The chosen host or hub city should be able to offer secure hotel accommodations, team facilities, and private transportation. For safety reasons, the city must have a low COVID-19 case rate, and its local government should have mass testing facilities ready.
NHL Return-To-Play Plan
Although the board has yet to choose a location, the return-to-play protocol is going as planned. The NHL is now in phase 2 of the protocol, which also draws NHL betting odds closer to Bitcoin sportsbooks. Here are the objectives of Phases 1 to 4 for reference:
Phase 1: Cancellation of the season and self-quarantine. The regular season is completely cancelled.
Phase 2: Reopening of team facilities. Noncontact skating for players in small groups must be observed.
Phase 3: Formal training camps to start “no earlier than the first half of July.”
Phase 4: Decision for the final format. A 24-team playoff (including seeding games, play-in rounds) is being considered.