Will The NHL Use Bubbles In An Effort To Play The Season?

The NHL owners and players need to be creative.

There was a report in the Tampa Bay Times that the National Hockey League would consider putting a hub or a bubble in Tampa if the league has to open the season playing in a bubble. The arena in Tampa could handle a number of teams and there are enough hotels near the arena to make the bubble exercise easier. There are two factors that the NHL has to consider if the bubble idea takes hold. There is a high amount of COVID-19 spread in Florida right now, with cases rising in the Tampa Bay area. There is also the Tampa Super Bowl that is scheduled for February 7th.  The National Football League’s showcase event is still on and the NFL wants about 20 percent of the stadium filled which means the NFL will be blocking off hotel rooms from roughly January 28th through February 9th in the Tampa Bay market. The NHL is looking at a January 1st start, if possible.

The National Hockey League also might have two bubbles in Canada, one in Toronto, Ontario, the other in Edmonton, Alberta and the season could feature games played between Canadian teams in a Canadian division. The United States-Canadian border is shut to everyone except those who are in essential business. The National Hockey League is not an essential business. Ontario reported a new daily COVID-19 positive high this week and Toronto is seeing more and more cases. Meanwhile Ontario health officials are pleading with local citizens to adhere to public health safety measures. The NHL is reportedly considering Buffalo, New York, Columbus, Ohio, Anaheim, California and Las Vegas, Nevada as hub cities. The NHL has no good choices but money is involved and both the owners and players want money so they are looking for a path to play.

(Jason Franson/The Canadian Press via AP)