NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said the league is considering roughly “eight or nine” hubs that can accommodate “a dozen teams in one place” in its efforts to resume the 2019-2020 NHL season, according to Nicholas Cotsonika of NHL.com.
Bettman made the comments in a digital interview with Leaders Week, a sports trade conference, on Monday.
“I don’t think anyone has a fixed schedule, especially in North America right now,” said Bettman, according to Cotsonika.
“We have worked very hard since we took the break on March 12 to make sure that whatever the timing, whatever the timing, whatever physical capacity we have in terms of locations to play, that we are able to execute one or all of these options. There is still a lot of uncertainty. “
Bettman said the NHL should resolve border and quarantine issues in order to suspend the 2019-20 campaign. Seventeen percent of players are currently outside of North America, while the rest are located across the continent.
A plan involving hubs would likely require facilities that could accommodate several games a day without fans. The NHL arenas are the best equipped for this business with features such as several changing rooms that could be cleaned when teams are mixed.
The hubs would also need enough hotels to house the teams and COVID-19 testing capacity to assess staff without distancing the local medical community.
“I am told there may be enough capacity, and certainly in the next two months there will be more capacity,” said Bettman, according to Cotsonika.
“But this is a fundamental question, and we certainly cannot jump the line in the face of medical needs. “
Earlier Monday, Sportsnet said the league would prefer four centers to host a repeat of the season, with six teams in each destination. However, the possibility of moving forward with only two hubs is also being considered if Canada cannot be included.
The attractiveness of a city north of the border is due to the possibility of reducing the cost of hosting games due to the lower dollar, as well as the desire to involve Canada in the conclusion of a season. .