NBA, NHL eyeing return soon


Mary Molline

2015 NHL Winter Classic

Dan Del Bene , Staff Writer

With the country attempting to reopen and turn back to normal, sports leagues are also trying to return. In this unprecedented time, leagues are scrambling to set up sites where they can finish the season.

Recently, the NHL released its plan to resume hockey. Commissioner Gary Bettman announced a 24-team playoff system that would skip the few remaining regular-season games. Official training camps and practices would resume no earlier than July 1.

Eight host cities were named as contenders and two still need to be picked, one for the Eastern Conference and one for the Western Conference. The list of contenders includes Chicago, Columbus, Dallas, Edmonton, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Pittsburgh, Vancouver, and Toronto.

The playoff system which is usually 16 got changed to 24 giving the top four teams in each conference a bye. A conference based round-robin with each playing three games would decide the seeding. The remaining 16 teams will play a best-of-five series to determine who will advance to the second round. Conference finals and Stanley Cup finals would be a best of seven. If at any time changes need to be made, they will change accordingly.

Some NBA facilities have already reopened, but there have been no official practices yet. Their plans are not as finalized as the NHL with many discussions and meetings still to be had. The most likely scenario would have Disney’s Wide World of Sports complex in Orlando host all of the remaining games in the NBA season. The players would most likely live on Disney resorts like a campus.

We still not know if that would involve the finish of the regular season or not. Portland Trailblazers star Damian Lillard said, “I’m not going to be participating” if there isn’t a chance for a team to make the postseason as the Blazers are a few games back from a playoff spot.

Many different rumors surfaced as one stating that there would be a 16-team playoff with no conferences. The 16 best teams would play directly in the playoffs as of winners of each conference meeting in the NBA Finals.

Every league is trying its best to find the right time and circumstance to return. The leagues’ main priority is still the health and safety of each player.