Bettman Reveals NHL Season Finale Format

By Ben Hamill - May 28 2020
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Bettman Reveals NHL Season Finale Format

The NHL’s Gary Bettman has reached an agreement with the NHL Players’ Association (NHLPA) regarding the way forward for a possible season finale. The format will involve a 24-team playoff specifically designed so as to lead up to a Stanley Cup champion being crowned in early autumn. This officially makes the NHL the largest North American sports league to announce concrete plans for a post-contagion return after a hiatus on all major play since around mid-March this year.

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The commissioner announced earlier this week that a total of 24 teams would return as soon as cleared by medical health authorities. The return will lead to a unique playoff tournament, justified by a unique and completely unprecedented set of global circumstances.

The NHL has in the meantime issued a detailed memo 22 pages in extent, outlining its proposed screening and safety protocols to be applied to all future voluntary practices at its team-facilities.

Initial Training By Early June

Initial training sessions scheduled to make up what has since been coined “Phase 2” are expected and planned to get underway by early June. This is on condition of course that local health regulations permit certain ordinances being lifted. Bettman continuously stressed the utmost and critical importance of the safety of players, coaches, support staff and also essential arena personnel and said that every action would be weighed against the principles of public health safety.

Full training camp is expected to resume July 1st at the very earliest, with the possibility of later dates also having come strongly to the fore during the announcement of the proposed way forward. Once playoffs have been announced complete, the season will be made to draw to a close with the presentation of hockey’s Stanley Cup to the team to have emerged the 2019-2020 champion (early autumn).

Full training camp will obviously involve all players, coaches, club officials, and medical support staff.

Talking Practicalities

As for the 24-team format, this will be hosted in a single hub city to a piece and will be chosen from among the following: Chicago, Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, Vancouver, Minneapolis, Toronto, Columbus, Las Vegas, Edmonton and Dallas.

As for training camps, only 50 employees will be allowed in attendance at any one time. What’s more, everyone set to be involved will be tested for any signs of infection beforehand as well as all throughout the training process.

Though not commented on as such, fans will in all likelihood not be permitted to attend the games. Games will however be extensively televised.

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