The NHL has reportedly scrapped the idea of hosting games at neutral sites in the United States and Canada and has shifted its focus to hosting games in one city per division.
According to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, the league would bring in teams from each division to a city to complete the regular season. One idea being floated is to play tripleheaders each day per location.
Friedman said the players would have to agree to that proposal.
Based on current COVID-19 case numbers, Friedman speculated Edmonton (Pacific Division); St. Paul, Minn. (Central Division); and Raleigh, N.C. (Metropolitan Division), could be host sites. According to the respective provincial and state governments, Alberta had 3,095 confirmed cases, Minnesota had 2,567 confirmed cases and North Carolina had 6,951 confirmed cases as of April 21.
Manchester, N.H., and Grand Forks, N.D., were two of the neutral-site locations floated by league sources to host NHL games should the season resume.
New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu confirmed to Boston radio station WEEI on April 17 that he had spoken with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman about staging games in the state.
“There is truth to that,” Sununu told WEEI. “I have had discussions about that. I don’t know whether that’s going to happen, but we are talking about it.”
Bettman suspended play March 12 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.