NHL exploring 'eight or nine' sites to serve as hub cities for return to play, Gary Bettman says

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman is looking at several centralized locations to serve as “hub” cities as a part of the league’s latest plan to resume the season.

During a video conference on Monday, Bettman said that the NHL was looking at “probably eight or nine different places” that would be able to accommodate “a dozen or so teams in one location.”

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"I don't think anybody has a fixed timetable, particularly in North America right now," Bettman said, according to NHL.com. "We have been working very hard since we took the pause on March 12 to make sure that whatever the timing is, whatever the sequencing is, whatever physical ability we have in terms of locations to play, that we're in a position to execute any or all of those options. There is still a great deal of uncertainty."

The locations will likely be centered around an NHL-arena that has the proper facilities but will also have to include a city with enough hotel space to house multiple teams and staff. Bettman said that the league will also need access to COVID-19 testing.

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"I am told that there can be enough capacity, and certainly over the next couple of months, there will be more capacity," he said. "But that is a fundamental question, and we certainly can't be jumping the line in front of medical needs."

According to a TSN report, the league is considering a two-city plan, each housing 12 teams.

Bettman also reiterated his desire to finish out the regular season if possible.

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"We'd like to complete this season," he said. "We'd like to award the Stanley Cup, the most treasured trophy and the most historic trophy in all of sports. And our fans are telling us overwhelmingly that's what they'd like us to do, because people have an emotional investment in this season already."