The strongest hockey league in the world, the NHL, still hopes that the next season could start on January 1, 2021, but, apparently, it will not be 'full', ie it is thought that each team will play between 48 and 65 games, instead of 82.
It is very likely that, due to the epidemiological situation, the matches will be played in several 'balloons' during the season. "Teams will play there for 10-12 days, after which players can spend a week at home with their families, and then a new 'balloon' will follow.
We will have all the necessary health protocols. Our 'balloon' will not be as effective as the NBA, but we believe that if we follow this path, we will reduce the risks somewhat. So this is one of the scenarios we are looking at," said NHL Commissioner Gary Batman.
Very important questions are how to make a schedule. "It is clear that we will not be able to move all seven Canadian clubs south of the 49th parallel (US-Canada border), so we have to consider alternatives.
One of the problems is crossing the US-Canadian border, but there are restrictions within the US when moving from state to state, so we have to be flexible. Since the travel factor is significant and uncertain, we may have to temporarily 'change' the geography, because the team's departure from Florida to California would not make sense.
" Last season, the rating of the NHL dropped significantly, which, like other leagues, fought with the corona virus without the presence of fans, at a time that is unusual for hockey. As much as they tried to bring hockey closer to the viewers on TV, there was still a lack of audience and what makes each sport specific and unique.
But the effort of every person who worked to ensure that we can still watch the NHL in moments of pandemic is to be commended "We tried to present the game in such a way that even without the fans, you could feel the tension and energy.
But that was not enough. In addition to all that, many fans were less involved in watching the matches during the summer." "We are now in the process of making a plan for the return of hockey, which I hope will be ready soon, but our other goal is to return to the usual schedule in the long run, when the season starts in the fall and ends before July, "Batman explained.