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NHL Discussing Short-Term Hubs For Next Season

The NHL is exploring short-term hubs, a temporary realignment and a reduced schedule for the 2020-21 season.

As per information provided by NHL commissioner Gary Bettman on Tuesdsay and as per a league report on its website, the National Hockey League is exploring short-term hubs, a temporary realignment and a reduced schedule for the 2020-21 season. Included in that conversation is the idea that the league is exploring teams playing in their own arenas – with or without fans – in hubs or a hybrid system. 

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Essentially, what that means is that an idea being tossed around is that teams will play for 10 to 12 days, and a bunch of games in that time period with no travel, then they would return home for a week to be with their families. Players will undergo testing protocols and then return.

New ideas on how to get the 2020-21 NHL season are being discussed because the players and Bettman both agreed that it would be unfair to ask players to return to a similar bubble system that took place during the NHL’s Return to Play for the 2020 playoffs.

Obviously, travel and the current border closing to non-essential travel between the U.S. and Canada is something the NHL is trying to work with and around, so a temporary realignment is also being discussed.

Travel Inside the U.S. Isn’t A Given Either

“Obviously, we’re not going to move all seven Canadian franchises south of the 49th Parallel,” Bettman said. He added, “… we have to look at alternative ways to play.” In mentioning that there are issues going from the United States to Canada and back, there are also limitations in terms of quarantining when you go from certain states to other states. All of that comes into play.

The goal for the NHL is to play games. How they get to that point and what the season looks like is still very much unclear, but in order for the teams and owners and league to make their money, the games must move forward.

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