In a sporting world that has been more or less utterly turned upside down, one problem is the variety of starting dates being put out there. While some sports, such as German soccer, aim to start off again at some point in May or June, the NHL looks to be in a much different state. The severity of the COVID-19 outbreak in the USA means that a start-up again is naturally going to be slower than in Germany, where the problem has been contained as well as realistically could be expected.
Having paused as far back as March 12th, though, some fans are wondering when – or if – the NHL season will be completed. It’s become a topic of some debate, with professional sports very unlikely to start again anytime soon. However, Matt Caldwell of the Florida Panthers says that the aim is to get things started up against by July. Speaking about the issue, he said: “Once we feel it’s a safe time to start bringing [teams] back to practice facilities and bring them back to the ice, we’re going to constantly monitor them and work on getting them back,
“When we start playing, if we resume the season this summer, I think there will be an empty or limited arena format.”
The NHL Commissioner, Gary Bettman, has made it clear that the league will look at all available options. However, one thing that is off the table is the talk of moving games to neutral venues in a bid to rush it all through. The main options, then, like most leagues, will break down to a late resumption or a full cancellation. At this stage, though, it would be hard to say what is more likely.
Like the rest of the world, the NHL simply has to wait and see.