NHL official says number of cities offer to host neutral-site playoff games: report

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The NHL will have no shortage of possible venues if the season resumes as several cities across North America have reportedly volunteered as hosts for neutral-site playoff games, according to a report.

NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said during an interview with ESPN Friday that the league has been contacted by a number of cities offering to host 2019-2020 playoff games if the season resumes.

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“We do have people putting together the comprehensive laundry list of what we would need from facilities and evaluating some facilities on some level,” Daly said. “But I can’t tell you we’ve even finished creating a list [of potential sites], much less narrowed it down.”

According to the report, the locations include arenas in Grand Forks, N.D.; Manchester, N.H., and Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

The season was suspended March 12 with 189 regular-season games remaining. NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said Tuesday that finishing those games would be the “best” solution but given the current circumstances surrounding the coronavirus pandemic that “may not be possible.”

Daly told ESPN there’s no table as to when the league will decide if it’s going to play out the rest of the season or move forward with the playoffs.

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“We’re just starting to get our minds around that,” he said. “It’s kind of a combination of things, like when we can start a regular season [in 2020-2021] and how much time we need for an offseason, and then what does the playoff format look like, in terms of knowing what you need to have a regular season.”

He added: “It may not be on the calendar a real long way away, but it is on a decision tree, a real long way away.”