As the world aims to get a hold on the coronavirus pandemic, NHL teams remain off the ice at a time when the race for the Stanley Cup is just heating up. However, various officials and team executives throughout the league are keeping their hopes up for completing the season and awarding Lord Stanley’s Cup.
Canadian teams, in particular, appear eager to hit the ice again and finish what they started back in October no matter what the circumstances. Officials from the Senators, Oilers and Flames have spoken out regarding their focus going forward as the league navigates unprecedented times.
“You’re sitting here and you’ve got a season that’s incomplete,” Flames general manager Brad Treliving said of Calgary’s hockey hiatus via CBC. “Whatever way, shape of form that is, you want to complete it.”
Edmonton Oilers chairman Bob Nicholson echoed that determination and told reporters that the season may not resume until mid-summer, but Commissioner Gary Bettman has a myriad of contingency plans in the works to make it happen. Meanwhile, Ottawa Senators GM Pierre Dorion has taken matters into his own hands and issued a trio of proposals to Bettman regarding the league’s upcoming operations.
“We’ve made three proposals to the league and our hockey operations group worked really hard at making three different types of proposals for resumption of the regular season, playoffs and the draft lottery,” Dorion said via the Ottawa Sun. “We did this through our owner, Mr. (Eugene) Melnyk, who forwarded it to Gary Bettman. I know Mr. Melnyk forwarded it to the commissioner.”
It has been reported that the NHL could reduce the number of regular season games before jumping into playoffs, which may be held at a neutral site. Bettman has also noted that given the postponement of the 2020 Summer Olympics, he was exploring hold games in August and secure open TV coverage that would otherwise be granted to the Olympics. No matter how league reconvenes, executives have acknowledged the adversity their teams will face.
“Certainly from a business perspective, when you look at it through that lens, it’s really difficult. Ticket revenue drives a large portion of our revenue,” Treliving said, but nevertheless he insists “We’ve invested 70-some-odd games. Let’s see this thing through.”
The NHL has asked all players and personnel to stay under quarantine until the end of the month.