It’s unclear just when the 2020-21 NHL season will start, though January continues to be the target date.
But Bill Daly continues to be hard at work in order to make sure everything goes smoothly.
The NHL deputy commissioner made an appearance on the “NHL @TheRink” podcast and discussed potential formats, noting he’s seen the struggles both Major League Baseball and the NFL have faced.
“We have to build in flexibility for the hiccups that we expect will come along and have to expect will come along with potential COVID positives and contact tracing requirements,” Daly said, via NHL.com’s Dan Rosen. “Some of the difficulties that baseball went through and some of the difficulties that the NFL is currently dealing with, how do we address those situations in the context of our own schedule? Those are all the things we’re working on and those are all the things that keep us all up at night as we try to figure this out.
“If possible to do so, I think our clubs would much prefer to play in their home buildings even if that means not before fans,” he added. “Having said that, in some markets, if we dropped the puck tomorrow night, I’m not sure all markets could accommodate a game just by local regulation and health restrictions. That changes on a daily basis; the restrictions that come into effect, the restrictions that go out of effect. That presents its own challenge on just staying on top of what all the conditions are.”
Daly also did not rule out hub cities.
“You’d obviously want to put those hub cities in places that are experiencing positive experiences on the COVID side,” he said. “You’d set up some dedicated space and restaurants for the players without the secure perimeters that we had in the bubble cities. That would be the benefit of hub cities. You would be in a situation where teams would travel in, play a bunch of games over a two-week time period and then be able to go home and spend time with their families and their own local practices facilities for a week, and cycle through a season that way.”
Now we just wait and see what comes of all this.