To eliminate traveling upon its potential return, the NHL is reportedly considering various neutral sites to house games.
Hockey insiders have pinpointed North Dakota and New Hampshire in particular as possible locations for the remainder of the disrupted season. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported that Grand Forks, North Dakota could serve as a hockey hub, while insider John Shannon added Manchester, New Hampshire to the mix of possibilities.
In addition to North Dakota, as @FriedgeHNIC reported over the weekend, also hearing Manchester, NH as a potential site for NHL games…IF, and its a big IF…If the NHL was to resume the schedule over the summer.
— John Shannon (@JShannonhl) April 6, 2020
In North Dakota, the 11,600-seat Ralph Engelstad Arena was singled out as one of the most feasible sites to carry out hockey games. The venue has hosted various junior hockey events and houses the NCAA’s North Dakota Fighting Hawks. Friedman noted that the low population density of North Dakota lends to a safer option for resuming sports. The state is far from being a coronavirus hot spot, but still combating the virus with over 200 confirmed cases and four deaths.
Manchester, New Hampshire would potentially hold games at SNHU Arena, though the region is facing more COVID-19 cases that could rule out any potential as a location. No details are confirmed yet, with the NHL and NHL Players Association expected to be in discussion this week over possible locations.
The NHL is just the latest league to explore operating from one central location. NBA insiders recently claimed that the league was discussing Las Vegas and other locations to hold the playoffs, though any formal decision about the season won’t come until next month. Additionally, the MLB is said to be considering playing games as early as next month from empty ballparks in Arizona.