Seeing as we are right in the thick of a global pandemic, it’s tough to envision an immediate path to normalcy returning.
However, that’s not impeding sports leagues from at least mapping out potential routes back to games — and it’s reportedly resulted in some optimism among NHL players.
Over the last week or so, we’ve seen the idea of neutral-site games being kicked around, with locations like Grand Forks, N.D., and Manchester, N.H., being named as potential hosts.
Of course, had the season not been paused, we’d be in the middle of the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Mathieu Schneider, the special assistant to NHLPA executive director Don Fehr, indicated during a recent interview with SiriusXM that though many barriers are in front of them, both the league and the players are working to get back on the ice.
“I think because of the flexibility that both sides have shown, I think there is a path towards (a resumption in play),” Schneider said. ” … As we sit here today, guys are preparing for the worst and really hoping for the best. I think there is a fair amount of optimism that we’re going to be able to play again, in all or in part of, the rest of the season.”
It’s worth noting that Schneider does mention often throughout his interview that there are plenty of potential roadblocks and that this is an unprecedented situation. In other words, this isn’t him guaranteeing we’ll see the 2019-20 season finish in some fashion other than cancellation.
Of course, all of this hinges on COVID-19 getting increasingly under control. Until then, it sounds like everyone is approaching this season with cautious optimism.