Skip to content

NHL, NHLPA haven't discussed neutral-site games

Brian Babineau / National Hockey League / Getty

Find out the latest on COVID-19's impact on the sports world and when sports are returning by subscribing to Breaking News push notifications in the Sports and COVID-19 section.

Despite multiple cities contacting the NHL about potential neutral-site playoff games, the league hasn't yet discussed such an outcome with the players' association.

"Other than the general understanding that they're looking at all possibilities, which includes neutral sites - neutral being defined as a place that isn't a home base for an NHL team," NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr told Emily Kaplan and Greg Wyshynski of ESPN. "We haven't had those discussions yet."

Grand Forks, North Dakota; Saskatoon, Saskatchewan; and Manchester, New Hampshire, have all reached out about potentially hosting games. New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu confirmed this week that playoff games in his state are "on the table."

While using new locations is an option, Fehr said there are still plenty of factors to consider before the league and players commit to any such decision.

"You're going to want to know what the CDC says, without any question at all. But in addition to that, as we all know, the state governors and the provincial prime ministers have the basic responsibilities over their own jurisdictions, so you're going to have to work with them, too," Fehr said. "The implication of the question is whether it's OK to play in some places and not others. I don't know if that's true. I assume it's certainly possible. If it is, we'll see what makes sense."

Another hurdle the league faces is border closures. Canada and USA's agreement to close their connecting border was extended on Friday by another 30 days, and dozens of European-born players who flew home to isolate could face travel restrictions.

Fehr said that "it's going to be very difficult to do anything" if borders remain closed.

Daily Newsletter

Get the latest trending sports news daily in your inbox