We are still waiting to see when the 2021 season will kick off in the National Hockey League and it is literally taking forever! The NHL refuses to stray from its original goal of starting the season on Jan. 1, despite the fact that this projected date is just a month away and the format has yet to be determined.
But it sounds like the reason why the NHL is taking so damn long to make decision on 2021 season is actually a good one. According to senior hockey writer Frank Seravalli, the NHL is still hoping all 31 teams will be able to play in their own arenas and it would be why things are moving so slowly on all details on the upcoming campaign. Players are also hoping to see action take place within their team’s respective arena and not in a hub city or short-term bubble. Here is how he explained it on last night’s Insider Trading on TSN:
“ The focus at this point and the preference of both owners and players, is to open the ’20-’21 season in all 31 buildings around the league. The reason for that is both from a revenue side and from a lifestyle side having players home with their families as much as possible that the schedule will allow. And moving forward, though, the big question is with the numbers skyrocketing around North America, the COVID numbers, will they be able to pull this off with local and regional health authorities? We’ve seen in the NFL, the San Francisco 49ers had to move their games to Arizona for the next two weeks. The NHL recognizes now that they’re going to have to be flexible with their schedule moving forward, potentially putting teams to play in neutral sites. Hybrid bubbles remain a backup option, but it’s something that no one really wants to go into a bubble at this point after being in one for so long to close out last season.”
A recent spike in COVID-19 cases is surely adding to the challenge of starting the season on time and in all 31 arenas across the league…
But we get why we don’t heard much in terms of developments and why this is taking so long : the NHL and the players are hoping for the pandemic to slow down, when, unfortunately no one has control over it…
At least, fans are a little more informed now on why this is taking so long.
Source: TSN · Photo Credit: Zuma Press