NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman recently shut down rumors that the league might resume in a neutral location and is indeed moving towards selecting as many as four established NHL arenas to hold potential operations. But which ones?
NHL Senior Executive VP and Director of Hockey Operations Colin Campbell revealed the specific criteria the league is looking for in an appearance on Sportsnet’s Hockey Central.
“We need to have an NHL arena,” he said. “There was some talk about North Dakota and other sites. We need an NHL arena that’s game-ready, that’s all set up and ready to go for broadcasting, for NHL games. They need four dressing rooms inside those arenas to play the number of games they need to play each day. The hotels need to be adequate and what our players need.”
The proposed plan would see each arena host multiple games each day for the league to complete as many regular season games as possible before moving on to the race for the Stanley Cup, which Bettman and Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly have shared their desire to award. Teams and personnel would be housed in area hotels, with all of this presuming that proper health and safety measures are taken.
“There’s a number of criteria,” Campbell added. “Is it a friendly hub? What state is friendly? What province is friendly? What are they dealing with [in terms of COVID-19 cases]? Obviously, you look at the New York area, it’s not very friendly, and you look at Alberta, that seems fairly friendly.”
Insiders have pinpointed Raleigh’s PNC Arena, St. Paul’s Xcel Energy Center and Toronto’s Scotiabank Arena as possible contenders. However, Campbell is leaving the decision up to government authorities and health experts analyzing the nature of the pandemic.
“All of this is contingent, nothing has been decided,” he said. “The decision ultimately will be made by medical people and people who run governments at all different levels. We’re not going to try to do anything that flies in the face of what we’re being told is appropriate.”