NHL playoffs could head to New Hampshire under one scenario

Scott McLaughlin
April 06, 2020 - 10:36 am
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It is becoming increasingly clear that the sports world won't be returning to normal, with games being played in packed arenas or stadiums, any time soon due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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As a result, leagues are discussing a number of different plans that could potentially allow games to resume, even if there aren't fans in the building.

The NHL may be in the toughest bind of the four major leagues, as the clock is ticking on completing the 2019-20 season, and they also have to worry about ice conditions as we get into the summer months.

One plan that Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman reported on over the weekend is one that has been discussed for some other leagues: essentially quaranting teams in a neutral location and playing all the games there to cut down on travel and the potential to contract or spread the virus.

Friedman reported that the University of North Dakota's Ralph Engelstad Arena in Grand Forks is one location being considered, and on Monday John Shannon added another potential site: SNHU Arena in Manchester, New Hampshire.

It's unclear how many neutral sites would be needed, but one requirement would be suitable in-arena facilities for likely at least four teams. Manchester has that, as the arena has frequently hosted college hockey regionals, which feature four teams playing on one day.

The Bruins would obviously like to be able to take full advantage of the home ice advantage they were well on their way to earning before the season was suspended, but in the event that the NHL opts for neutral sites instead, they may have to settle for a short drive up I-93 to a temporary home in Manchester.