NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr has not discussed specific neutral game sites with the NHL in the event the league holds the Stanley Cup playoffs this summer, according to ESPN.
“Other than the general understanding that they’re looking at all possibilities, which includes neutral sites—neutral being defined as a place that isn’t a home base for an NHL team,” Fehr told ESPN. “We haven’t had those discussions yet.”
The NHL has received offers from various cities and venues around the U.S. that are willing to be potential hosts. New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu told WEEI on Friday that he talked to the league about possibly hosting NHL games in Manchester, N.H., if the season resumes. Earlier this month, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported that the league has considered finishing its season and postseason in North Dakota. The University of North Dakota’s Ralph Engelstad Arena in Grand Forks was reportedly among the places under consideration. The arena has an 11,640 seating capacity, but additional sites would be required.
Fehr told ESPN that there are concerns over potentially playing games in an area where there are no stay-at-home orders. Possible changes to the current restrictions on travel and mass gatherings would also be considered before the NHL reaches a decision on the season’s fate.
“You’re going to want to know what the CDC says, without any question at all. But in addition to that, as we all know, the state governors and the provincial prime ministers have the basic responsibilities over their own jurisdictions, so you’re going to have to work with them too,” he said. “The implication of the question is whether it’s OK to play in some places and not others”
Other sports leagues have also examined ways to either continue or start their seasons. The NBA has explored holding its entire postseason in Las Vegas, while MLB has weighed quarantining teams and playing games in spring training parks without fans.