The NBA And NHL Have Some Decisions To Make Concerning The 2020-2021 Season

The 2020-21 season plans are as clear as mud.

As the National Hockey League and National Basketball Association playoffs wind down, there is a very obvious question that needs to be answered. What happens after the playoffs? Both the NHL and NBA have been able to get games in by using a bubble that basically seals all league personnel that are involved with the product off from the outside world. But it is not a very cost-effective way to run a full season and with no signs that the COVID-19 epidemic is going away, there does not seem to be a clear answer as to how to proceed with the 2020-2021 portion of the calendar. The NBA targeted a December 1st start but that may be not be a plausible path. Will states lift crowd restrictions in time for the NBA season? It is unlikely. The same holds true for the NHL which would like to have an 82-game season. But there is a small ray of light for the NHL which has seven teams based in Canada. Last week, the country reported no COVID-19 deaths on September 11th. COVID-19 is not going away without a vaccine or an effective medical treatment but Canada has done a reasonably good job in containing the virus spread although with schools opening and a loosening of restrictions that could change.

Canada has also shut the border down with the United States with few exceptions. Canada did not allow Major League Baseball’s Toronto Blue Jays to play any games in the Ontario city because it did not want the Blue Jays traveling party to fly back and forth from Toronto to points in the United States. The NHL could conceivably go forward with a plan to have its seven Canadian teams play one another. The NBA would have a Toronto Raptors problem similar to baseball’s Blue Jays. It is getting late early for the 2020-2021 season.

(Jason Franson/The Canadian Press via AP)
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