Is the NHL moving toward a plan for restarting its season?
A Friday report that potential "hub cities" are submitting proposals to the league was preceded by TSN's Frank Seravalli reporting on a memo sent from the league to players–one that offered some semblance of a timeline.
Full story on today's #NHL memo to teams and players, which says the league hopes to open team training facilities in mid-to-late May and provides a brief travel advisory to players who have sheltered elsewhere:https://t.co/PL0TptEiCr pic.twitter.com/CXXdHIDPX1— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) April 29, 2020
It's believed that Columbus is a "contender" to be among the host cities should the league and players agree on the plan (and public health officials/state leadership agree that it's safe to proceed). Ohio is currently under a revised "Stay Safe" order as announced Friday by Governor Mike DeWine, and said order is currently in effect through the end of May.
The new order is different than the previous "Stay Home" order, which expired on April 30. While it's believed any NHL games will be played without spectators during a restarted season, the fact that Ohio is moving forward with its reopening plan would seem to bode well for the Blue Jackets being a host or hub city.
In response to the TSN report, the league issued a statement through its official channels:
"Despite numerous reports and speculation over the last several days, the NHL and the NHLPA have not made any decisions or set a timeline for possible return to play scenarios," said the NHL and NHLPA in a joint statement. "Given recent developments in some NHL Clubs' local communities, we are now looking ahead to a Phase 2 of the transition period that would follow the currently recommended Phase 1 period of "self-quarantine" by Players and Hockey Staff. The precise date of transition to Phase 2, during which Players might return to small group activities in NHL Club training facilities, remains undetermined. However, provided that conditions continue to trend favorably – and, subject to potential competitive concerns as between disparately situated markets – we believe we may be able to move to Phase 2 at some point in the mid-to-later portion of May. Specific guidelines governing Player and Hockey Staff activity would be provided at that time. In the meantime, we expect Players and Hockey Staff to continue to adhere to the recommended guidelines put in place when the season was paused on March 12."