Bill Daly: NHL will do its best to have fans at games in 2020-21

Once either the Dallas Stars or Tampa Bay Lightning hoist the Stanley Cup later this month, the NHL will turn its full attention to the off-season and the 2020-21 calendar.

A major question the league faces is whether or not its 31 teams will be able to travel next season, or will the league revert back to a bubble system like how the NHL and NBA both set up their respective 2020 playoffs?

Bill Daly was a guest on Lead Off on Sportsnet 590 and the NHL deputy commissioner discussed some of the pros and cons of NHL’s bubble experiment and what the 2020-21 hockey season could look like.

“There’s so many variables that we can’t control, specifically what the border crossings are going to look like and the quarantines and all of those issues that go into how you can execute a professional sports league season are going to be relevant so we've got a lot of work ahead of us,” Daly said Monday.

Daly said the NHL is looking at what the NFL and collegiate athletics are doing in North America and how European hockey teams and leagues are handling COVID-19 overseas.

“We’re really taking in all of the data points we can possibly take in,” he said.

The NHL and NHLPA had tentatively agreed to aim for a Dec. 1 start to the 2020-21 campaign. However, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said over the weekend he wouldn’t be surprised if the start of next season was pushed back later into December or even into January.

Daly explained the main reason for delaying the start of the season would be to see if it could be possible for some fans to safely attend games since the league and its franchises rely on ticket sales as a key source of revenue.

“We’re going to do our best to try to get as many fans in our buildings next season as possible but we’re going to also do it safely,” Daly added.

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