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7 NHL Teams Exploring Outdoor Games for 2020-21 Season

While it’s a long shot at best, at least seven teams are rumored to be exploring the idea of playing NHL games outdoors during 2020-21 season.

While the NHL, the players and the hockey world waits to see how much worse or how much better the pandemic gets, ideas are being tossed around as possible solutions in the short and long term. Knowing struggling franchises need to come up with financially viable options to get fans back, how the increase or decrease in positive COVID-19 cases affect what can happen as it relates to a new NHL season, teams are exploring all sorts of interesting ideas.

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One of those solutions appears to be the idea that teams could play outdoors. This would be done as a way to increase fan attendance and work around the fact that indoor games pose challenges when it comes to keeping the fanbase safe.

At least four teams – the Los Angeles Kings, Anaheim Ducks, Pittsburgh Penguins, and Boston Bruins – have explored the idea of playing games outside, reports Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman. Since his report, The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun adds that it appears the Carolina Hurricanes, Dallas Stars, and Nashville Predators have reportedly looked into the option as well.

The Kings got the ball rolling a few months ago and tossed out the idea that they could play their games at Dignity Health Sports Park – a soccer stadium with a 27,000-person capacity that’s home to the LA Galaxy. The Kings ownership group owns both arenas. This was followed up by the Bruins looking into a few ideas, including what is being called an “exploratory phase” regarding using Fenway Park. The Penguins have looked into Heinz Field and PNC Park.

This Isn’t Exactly An Easy ‘Yes or No’ Situation

While the idea of outdoor games is being explored, there’s certainly pros and cons associated to trying such a creative endeavor. Friedman suggests that the NHL has already said it doesn’t see this as much of an option. The cost associated to holding events outdoors makes this a long shot plan at best. The players would also have to approve the idea.

Still, it’s not going to stop teams from looking into alternatives to ensure they have all options available to them.

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