By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
The National Hockey League’s desire to have a real conclusion to the 2019-20 season may take them to North Dakota, as the state is a possible location site if and when the league does return to the ice, according to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman.
From Friedman’s story:
Several sites would be necessary, but Ralph Engelstad Arena in Grand Forks, N.D., makes sense. Host of the 2005 World Junior Championships, the 2016 World Under-18s and the NCAA’s Fighting Hawks, it is an impressive facility that is definitely more suitable than many other available non-NHL options in the United States.
Friedman also went on to note North Dakota’s abundance of rinks and its relatively low population density, which could help the league if they were to enter this in search of minimizing the risks for all involved. But that same perk of the low population density may hurt the league as well, as local hotel accommodations could be an issue when it comes to housing half (if not more) of the league and its staffs for a prolonged stretch.
If health is the No. 1 priority, however, the league will have a hard time doing better than North Dakota, as the state entered Monday with the third-fewest COVID-19 cases in America, with only Wyoming and Alaska having fewer cases to date. (That last note probably wouldn’t matter, to be honest, as it’s hard to imagine the NHL letting fans in the building anytime soon.)
The NHL is not the first league to think of a finish in a centralized location, as the NBA has reportedly eyed Las Vegas as their ideal location should the league successfully find a way to finish their year and declare a champion.
The NHL pressed pause on its season on Mar. 12 (shortly following the NBA’s lead after Rudy Gobert’s positive test), and with the Bruins atop the league standings at the time of their indefinite hiatus with 100 points through 70 games.