The NHL has narrowed its search for locations down to eight to nine cities that will host several teams. Can the Carolina Hurricanes still host games?
The NHL is back at it again folks. The newest development? The search for cities that can host the season return has been dwindled down to “eight or nine different places”. How will this affect cities such as Raleigh that have long been considered part of the race?
Well for one, the most interesting thing to consider is that the Commissioner mentioned that the chosen locations would have to host “a dozen or so teams in one location”. That means that these locations would have to be clear enough of the virus and have enough accommodations for these teams.
Raliegh is a small big city. Which has protected it from the large influx of the virus that has taken its toll on larger cities such as New York and Los Angelos, and at the same time allowed it to have the massive accommodations that can host multiple teams.
But will there be enough NHL worthy ice space? I already broke it down when it looked like Raleigh might play host to the entire Metro Division, but twelve teams would mean that it would also host the Atlantic as well. With the 24-team playoff concept still in play, this would mean the entire Eastern Conference playoff race basically.
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The good news is that the new practice facilities are on pace to open by July first, the soonest any NHL action can be expected. But will that be enough for twelve teams?
While other cities may have more ice space, the Raleigh has had the virus well under control. Now I won’t get into the political weeds of if that can be attributed to Governor Cooper’s response or not, but whatever the reason, Raleigh is now at the forefront of this race.
But is it all worth it? Should we just cancel the season if there won’t be any fans? While I have seen many fans speak up and say that the season needs to be ended, the Commissioner disagrees saying:
"“We’d like to complete this season. We’d like to award the Stanley Cup, the most treasured trophy, and the most historic trophy in all of sports. And our fans are telling us overwhelmingly that’s what they’d like us to do because people have an emotional investment in this season already.”"
Whichever cities are chosen to host, they will see a massive economic boost from the influx of players coming in. They will probably start arriving well before the season begins again as they are systematically collected from whichever ends of the earth they have gone to. I would expect some sort of practice or camp before play is allowed again. I would also expect extra doctors as well.
There will be a huge learning opportunity in the next few months for the NHL. I would expect to see many fans argue both ends of this decision or any further decisions made. All we can do is learn from them and hopefully apply the lessons in the future. Hopefully, we never have to.