Flames’ Lindholm: It’s tough to imagine playing without fans

Former NHL player and head coach Kevin Dineen joins Hockey Central to discuss his confidence in commissioner Gary Bettman and the league to find a safe way to produce playoff hockey this season.

If and when the NHL resumes its 2019-20 season, it’s unlikely games will be played in front of fans.

For Calgary Flames forward Elias Lindholm, the notion of suiting up for games in empty arenas is far from ideal.

“That’s going to be tough,” Lindholm told Sportsnet 960 Tuesday. “The fans is pretty much the whole game. Without the fans there wouldn’t be any games.”

NHL brass has discussed the idea of playing in several “hub cities” where there could be multiple games broadcasted daily, however due to public health and safety concerns fans wouldn’t be permitted to attend.

“I think every time you go and play in front of a full building you’re pumped up and fired up and when you’re playing in front of just a couple thousand you kind of have to motivate yourself for that,” Lindholm said. “Now without fans, I don’t know. … It’s tough to imagine playing without fans. It’s going to be a tough thing to do for sure.”

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There are others around the NHL who share similar feelings to Lindholm’s.

For example, Boston Bruins forward Brad Marchand said playing games without fans would feel “like a practice” and questioned if logistically “it makes sense to play without fans.”

Carolina Hurricanes owner Tom Dundon recently asked “what’s the point of having sports if you don’t have fans, right?” during an interview with a Raleigh radio station.

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