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NHL, NHLPA reviewing potential resumption sites

Ralph Engelstad Arena in Grand Forks, North Dakota

The National Hockey League and NHL Players Association discussing various scenarios to try to resume play amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, including even a possibility of staging games in North Dakota.

As part of various resumption scenarios under discussion between the league and union, Canada’s Sportsnet reported that Ralph Engelstad Arena in Grand Forks, North Dakota, is among the venues being considered. 

The facility, widely considered to be the one of the best non-NHL ice hockey venues in North America, is home to the University of North Dakota ice hockey team, has hosted several international junior-level events, and has a recently upgraded television control room.

North Dakota also has had a much lower incidence of Covid-19 cases than most other US states.

The discussions of staging games in alternate sites, and perhaps without fans, mirror those now ongoing in the National Basketball Association and Major League Baseball. 

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman was part of a call last weekend with US President Donald Trump, who is particularly eager to get the country’s pro sports properties resumed.

The NHL has not yet settled on any particular plan for resumption. But late last month, the league did suggest a potential of training camps resuming in late April “assuming events are tracking positively.” To that end, any NHL resumption, like the other leagues, will require clear support from numerous health authorities.