NHL commissioner Gary Bettman says decision on resuming season still weeks away

On Tuesday, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman revealed that a potential return is still several weeks away. In addition, Bettman announced that the league is mulling several scenarios in terms of the logistics for resuming the 2019-20 season and “nothing’s been ruled in; nothing’s been ruled out.”

“We’re all going to wait until we have a lot more information — maybe in the next few weeks — to make any decisions,” Bettman said.

Bettman also said that league is taking a wait-and-see approach and acknowledged that “there aren’t a lot of answers” right now. The NHL commissioner says that “there’s too much uncertainty” to target a specific date for the league to return.

The NHL has debated several scenarios they could utilize to resume the 2019-20 season. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported on Monday that North Dakota is a location that the NHL is considering.

As of Monday afternoon, the CDC reported that North Dakota had 225 cases of COVID-19, which is one of the fewest in the United States.

Friedman wrote that nothing is imminent right now and North Dakota is one of multiple scenarios that the league is likely discussing. Even if they did settle on a set location, finding venues is just the first hurdle to any kind of plan to resume. The league would also need to figure out travel, hotel accommodations and much more.

“I do believe we can play into the summer, well into the summer,” Bettman added.

The season has been on pause since March 12 due to the coronavirus pandemic. NHL teams fall in the range of 11 to 14 games from finishing the regular season. 

The league’s playoffs would have started on Tuesday if it wasn’t for the stoppage. Resuming the season is certainly going to depend on where the coronavirus outbreak stands in the United States and Canada at the time.

“It’s largely going to be determined… by how much time there is, because we have next season to focus on as well, and the health of the country — and by the country, I mean both Canada and the U.S.,” Bettman said.

Of course, the league would need a few weeks for players to get back into playing shape and to figure out what the schedule will look like.

“Whatever we do has to be fair,” Bettman added. “The best thing — and the easiest thing — would be if at some point we could complete the regular season, and then go into the playoffs as we normally do. We understand that may not be possible.”

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