By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
Professional hockey could make its way back to the Granite State this summer.
With the National League Hockey looking at all options amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the league is reportedly considering Manchester, N.H. as a potential location for games should hockey resume this summer, according to John Shannon.
Word of the NHL potentially coming to Manch-Vegas comes after an Elliotte Friedman report that indicated that North Dakota may be an option for the league this summer, and with the NHL potentially following the NBA’s lead of holding a conclusion to their season in a centralized location. (For the NBA, that location would appear to be Las Vegas.)
For the NHL, a potential move to Manchester would come with games held at SNHU Arena, which housed the Manchester Monarchs throughout their AHL and ECHL runs before the team officially ceased operations in 2019. Serving as the Kings’ AHL affiliate from 2001 to 2015, the Monarchs actually had a ton of NHL notables walk through their doors, including Jonathan Quick, Dustin Brown, and Tyler Toffoli, and won the Calder Cup in their final season as L.A.’s pipeline to the NHL in 2015. But the team lasted just four seasons as their ECHL affiliate after they were unable to find a buyer.
Nowadays, SNHU Arena’s action tends to come during presidential campaigns, as well as concerts. But if the league came calling, there’s no doubt that the arena would certainly scramble to get their professional-level ice back together.
While the league remains in a ‘no stone unturned’ mindset in pursuit of a real finish to their year, it will be interesting to see if Manchester begins to see the league morph their plans in a ‘regional’ idea of sorts (similar to the NCAA tournament) to ease the stress on some of these smaller cities in terms of trying to find accommodations for 31 NHL teams at once.
The NHL paused on Mar. 12 with the Bruins atop the league standings, with 100 points in 70 games.