The Boston Bruins, Los Angeles Kings, Anaheim Ducks and Pittsburgh Penguins are among the NHL teams considering playing their home games outdoors for the 2020-21 season if it means having fans, according to several reports.
Per Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet.ca, those may not be the only four teams considering the idea. Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic adds that Nashville Predators and Carolina Hurricanes are also contemplating such a move.
“According to multiple sources, it was the Kings who first considered the idea several months ago,” Friedman wrote.
The NHL has staged an outdoor game here and there since the early 1950s. Actually, it staged only three between 1954 and 1991, and they were all exhibition matches. The first regular-season outdoor game took place in November 2003, when the Edmonton Oilers hosted the Montreal Canadiens.
It’s become a regular thing since 2008, but it’s still always considered a special occasion, usually made for network television.
But that could all change if teams play their entire home slate outdoors. And apparently, they’re giving it some serious thought.
Of course, in order for this to actually happen, the NHL Players Association would have to approve the needed changes in venue, and local ordinances would have to give it the go-ahead. So there are still plenty of hurdles.
The NHL hopes to start the 2020-21 season on January 1.
“That is a work in progress, influenced largely by what we’re hearing from the medical experts, and we talk to some pretty highly placed people without name-dropping,” commissioner Gary Bettman said Wednesday.