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Report: NHL looks to reopen season at regional sites

The plan for neutral sites has apparently been scrapped.
Credit: AP
Fans pose below the NHL league logo at a display outside Falcon Stadium before an NHL Stadium Series outdoor hockey game between the Los Angeles Kings and Colorado Avalanche, Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020, at Air Force Academy, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

BUFFALO, N.Y. — According to ESPN the NHL, if it reopens the season, has scrapped the idea of playing games in neutral site rinks. The report says the league is now looking at NHL regional arenas if and when play returns.

There were many problems with the neutral site rinks, starting with player accommodations. ESPN quotes NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr as saying "that there had been no discussions about specific neutral sites with the NHL either." 

The regional arenas would be aligned by division where teams could potentially finish their seasons. Carolina, Edmonton and Minnesota are reportedly the current favorites. None have emerged from the Atlantic Division.

The league's goal, according to the report, is to finish the regular season. There are 189 games remaining in the regular season, which was put on pause March 12 because of the corona virus outbreak.

The Sabres had 13 games left when the season was paused. 

The NHL has players self-quarantined until April 30, and that date is likely to be extended. 

According to the report, this is just one of a number of scenarios discussed. The league and the NHLPA would have to agree on how to get things restarted.

Of course nothing can happen until health officials give the go ahead. If the season is resumed its unlikely to happen in June, it maybe July at the earliest. And if it does happen it would likely be done in empty arenas or with limited fans in the stands, according to the report.

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