With the 2019-2020 NHL season currently interrupted due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the league and NHLPA have reportedly formed a committee to plan for a possible return to play.
According to New york postLarry Brooks, NHLers John Tavares, Connor McDavid, James van Riemsdyk, Mark Scheifele and Ron Hainsey are on the committee, with Gary Bettman, Bill Daly, Colin Campbell and Steve Hatze Petros representing the league, and Don Fehr, Mathieu Schneider, the General Counsel Don Zavelo and Divisional Representative Steve Webb representing the Players’ Association.
Brooks said the group “has held a pair of conference calls in the past three days with” meetings “to be followed regularly. League and NHLPA medical advisers have been included in the appeals “if necessary,” said Brooks.
So far, meetings have not progressed to specific plans, according to Publish, but rather general questions requiring answers before setting up a plan.
Speaking with Ron MacLean during an episode of “In Conversation” earlier this week, Bettman shared some of the league’s thinking about what such a comeback might look like – especially the idea of potentially hosting each of the four divisions in NHL cities to play the rest of the regular season, as Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet recently reported.
While hosting neutral games originally appeared on the table, playing on the NHL rinks is a necessity.
“We can’t play in a small university rink in the middle of a smaller community because if we’re going to be centralized, we need the back of the house that the NHL arenas provide,” Bettman told Ron MacLean Wednesday.
“Whether it’s multiple locker rooms, be it technology, procedures, tables and glass, video replay, broadcast facilities. These are things that are in place in NHL arenas and that is what we will ultimately need if we are to come back centrally and play several games a day. “
The commissioner noted, however, that no plan has yet been developed and that if the league models return-to-play scenarios, they will follow the lead of the medical community.
“Look, the decision will ultimately be made by the doctors and people who run the government at all levels,” Bettman told MacLean, “so we’re not going to try to do anything that goes against of what we are told is appropriate. ”