The home of the defending Stanley Cup champion may soon become one of the few homes of NHL action in the country during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The idea at this time is to have four cities with NHL teams serve as hosts as opposed to the original idea of games at neutral sites.
Three cities could host eight teams with a fourth hosting seven. Blues’ President and CEO Chris Zimmerman confirmed the organization’s interest to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The Post-Dispatch reported teams had between 11 and 14 games left to play to complete a full season.
As mentioned in a previous article, some form of a regular season is preferred and “20 of 24 polled GMs preferred five-game series from the opening round until the conference final. Those general managers still prefer a seven-game series to determine the Stanley Cup Champion. The other four want to leave the postseason as all seven-game series.”
Edmonton, St. Paul, Minn., and Raleigh, N.C. are other cities being mentioned. As noted in our previous report, a city in Florida (home to the Panthers and Lightning) is also a possibility. The state government considers sports organizations as essential businesses.
St. Louis would obviously also need government and medical approval. However, GM Doug Armstrong understands safety is the first priority for more than players and all others involved in the fanless games.
“You want to be cognizant of the fact that we’re a luxury item,” Armstrong told the Post Dispatch.
“There’s another four million people that applied for unemployment. So I don’t want to come off like ‘poor St. Louis Blues, they don’t get a chance to defend the Stanley Cup.’ There’s a lot bigger issues at play here.”