Bettman: NHL considering short-term hubs, reduced schedule

TORONTO — The NHL is considering a number of adjustments to make to the 2020-21 season to create safer conditions for players and staff during the coronavirus pandemic.

The NHL is still officially targeting a Jan. 1 start to the season, although that date could still be pushed back.

Gary Bettman, speaking to the 2020 Paley International Council Summit on Tuesday, said that a strict bubble like the NHL used in the 2020 postseason won’t be used for the entire season. Instead, the league is looking into short-term hubs and temporary divisional realignments to reduce travel next season.

Bettman hinted at an all-Canadian division for next season, citing the inability to freely cross the U.S.-Canadian border.

“Obviously, we’re not going to move all seven Canadian franchises south of the 49th Parallel, and so we have to look at alternative ways to play,” Bettman said. “And while crossing the U.S.-Canadian border is an issue, we’re also seeing within the United States limitations in terms of quarantining when you go from certain states to other states. It’s again part of having to be flexible.”

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