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NHL Outlines Plans for Return to the Ice

The National Hockey League Tuesday became the first of the major sports leagues to outline its return to play during the COVID-19 pandemic.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said in a NBCSN televised address that 24 of the league’s 31 teams will return to the ice sometime in July for training camps, although no specific date was announced for an official start to the playoff tournament, according to Bettman. 

The league pulled the plug on the 2019-20 season on March 12 due the pandemic. Bettman added that the league has heard from fans "in overwhelming numbers" that they want to see a resolution of the season. 

The playoff tournament will be played in two hub cities --- one for Eastern Conference games and the other for Western conference contests. Among the cities being considered are Chicago, Columbus, Dallas, Edmonton, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Pittsburgh, Toronto, and Vancouver, according to the league.

Bettman said the games will be played with limited  personnel from each team going to the hub cities. He also said the league will not go ahead with plans if health of the players and NHL staff cannot be adequately protected. 

R. Thomas Umstead
R. Thomas Umstead

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.