Some people around the NHL are exploring protections for players and other essential personnel for when play resumes. The focus of negotiations between the league and the NHLPA have largely focused on safety precautions and testing procedures for COVID-19, but those at Bauer, a hockey equipment manufacturer, is in talks with the league about an off-ice, lightweight visor that could help protect players and coaches, per Stephen Whyno of the Associated Press. A full face-shield for spectators will be met with some skepticism – as these types of changes often are – but Bauer vice president of global marketing Mary-Kay Messier is convinced that their new “integrated cap shield” could be benefit those near the ice. Said Messier, “There’s quite a lot of yelling from coaches. So when you think about and you talk about that yelling or loud talking that you are at greater risk for the droplets, I would say it is a very viable option at a lot of different levels.”
- The NHL’s next expansion team is set for Seattle, but they’re not rushing to reveal details like the team name – at least not yet, writes Sean Leahy of NBC Sports. Leahy provides a quote from Seattle hockey CEO Tod Leiweke, who said, “It’s not the right time. Vegas did it a year out. We’ve got ample time, and the thing this organization will never be is tone deaf. So we’ve got to pick the right time, and we’ve got to make sure all of our ducks are in a row.” Other benchmarks remain more-or-less on track, including the construction on the KeyArena. There may be a small delay, but nothing that will impact the ultimate timeline of bringing the NHL to Seattle.
- There are many practical concerns for resuming play in any of the potential hub cities, though Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau gave some hope to those host cities by supporting the idea of the NHL returning to play and allowing for provinces to make some decisions about best practices. Logistics and health concerns aside, The Star’s Kevin McGran makes the case for Toronto, citing the many restaurant and hotel options, as well as rink availability. Obviously, any potential hub city will have to provide many options on all three counts. McGran also notes that more NHL players hail from the greater Toronto area than anywhere else, which could help ease player concerns about being away from their families. Another boon to Toronto’s chances is the presence of Sportsnet, a national TV rightsholder.