BOSTON (CBS) — Nobody knows at this point if the NHL will return this season. Certainly, nobody knows where or how those games could be played.
But we are getting bits of information about considerations for such scenarios, and the newest story notes that New England could play an important role in a resumption of the NHL season.
According to John Shannon, the NHL is considering Manchester as a host city for NHL games.
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
That would likely mean that the NHL is looking at SNHU Arena as an option. The arena has hosted the Manchester Monarchs (of the AHL, and then the ECHL) since 2001, among other sporting and entertainment events. It holds nearly 10,000 fans for hockey games, though any resumption of NHL action this year likely would not involve fans.
ESPN’s Greg Wyhsynski wrote Monday that the NHL cannot fully copy the NBA’s model to have the whole league in one city, like the NBA is considering with Las Vegas. That’s due to the higher number of players and staff in the NHL. But, Wyshynski wrote, “That could mean multiple venues for the early rounds of the playoffs, almost like ‘regionals’ for teams. … Logically, a neutral-site playoff would ease the problems caused by inconsistent region-by-region restrictions, create a controlled environment for the athletes and reduce costs of travel for the teams. … What this plan doesn’t do is guarantee that there won’t be someone involved in the games who tests positive for COVID-19, and then all bets might be off.”
While much remains in flux, some contingency plans do involve an NHL postseason taking place over the summer, with the Stanley Cup being awarded in August. Of course, the uncertain nature of the coronavirus pandemic could render all such discussions and contingencies as moot. But if the NHL postseason does take place, the Granite State could play a key role.