A two minute penalty or a major?
Is hockey an essential business during a pandemic? The National Hockey League probably got a setback earlier this week in its attempt to get back onto the ice and crown a 2020 Stanley Cup Champion. Because of COVID-19, the United States/Canadian border has been sealed to everyone until June 21st except those involved in essential businesses. How this will impact the NHL is not clear, getting a plan together that the owners and players like is job one for Commissioner Gary Bettman and the Players Association Executive Director Donald Fehr. Government regulation comes next and one of the obstacles in getting the league started again if a Canadian city is chosen to host a potential NHL set up is the fact that everyone who can manage to get into Canada has to be quarantined for 14 days which means Americans, Swedes, Finns, Russians, Czechs, Slovaks, and others from foreign countries who play would have to wait for health reasons.
The National Hockey League is more impacted than Major League Baseball and the National Basketball Association as those leagues have just one franchise in Canada, that in Toronto. Major League Soccer has three Canadian teams in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver. MLS Commissioner Don Garber has acknowledged that it might be difficult getting a 34 game per team schedule done because of COVID-19. United States Governors including Andrew Cuomo of New York, Gavin Newsom of California, Ron DeSantis of Florida and Greg Abbott of Texas want sports leagues to offer products without fans in their states. South Carolina has hosted the relaunch of NASCAR races. The push to open sports as part of the economy during a pandemic has been accelerating. But the virus has not left the building and scientific data seems to have been smothered somewhat by the want and need to open the economy. High hurdles remain.