Six days into the NHL’s hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the question about when the league can resume playing feels more and more difficult to answer.
New developments in precautions and projections with respect to the spread of COVID-19 have changed the global landscape significantly and put many industries on hold — including sports.
During an appearance on Good Show on Wednesday morning, NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly indicated that NHL head office staff have been working diligently on several different possible scenarios for what the league might look upon a possible return to action. In addition to ongoing updates about the coronavirus threat itself, which has been an extremely fluid situation, Daly and the league must factor in things like network partner obligations, building availability and, of course, seasonal issues.
“A lot of that is really just understanding what our options are,” Daly said. “There are so many different variables — we’re only six days into having paused the season, we don’t really have a good understanding of when we can come back and in what format we’d be able to come back.”
“There’s a lot of unknowns and variables, so I think the process at this point is really just understanding what’s possible and maybe kicking around ideas as to what would be fair and what would have some integrity,” he added. “Basically, it’s nothing more than that at this point.”
Daly said his time right now is primarily spent on ensuring the league is informed on all medical updates, as well as kept up to date on all club developments throughout the NHL community. Sharing that information throughout the league has “been a full-time job,” he said.
“Our time frame is, obviously, going to be a very relevant consideration and fairness and integrity of the schedule is also going to be a relevant consideration,” he said.
“It’s really finding the right mix and compromise based on all the circumstances. So that’s why speculating, at this point, for me, is almost irresponsible because I think we have to be open to anything that might work and be fair.”