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Bettman: NHL plans to finish suspended season

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13/05/2020 at 17:23 | Updated 13/05/2020 at 17:25

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said the league intends to finish the remainder of the 2020 season, halted in mid-March because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Bettman made the comments in a virtual town hall on Tuesday that was hosted by
the San Jose Sharks for its business partners.

"I believe that if the right time comes, and the right circumstances, based on
all of the options that we're considering and our ability to execute them,
we'll get this season done," Bettman said, per The Mercury News. "I don't want
to sound Pollyanna, but canceling is too easy a solution. That means you stop
working hard to do all of the things that we're doing, and I ultimately
believe that there will be an opportunity."

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He said he was encouraged by the easing of stay-at-home restrictions across
the country. Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey said Tuesday that pro sports could
resume, without fans in the stands, in his state on Saturday.

"States are re-opening, cities are re-opening," Bettman said. "And if we do
the right things, I think we'll be able to finish the season."

Bettman didn't provide a timetable or a format for concluding the regular
season and advancing to the Stanley Cup Playoffs. League officials previously
said the NHL would be OK delaying the start of the 2020-21 season to late in
the year if it meant the current one could be finished.

"Obviously we hope to be playing in front of fans by next season," Bettman
said. "But if we finish in August or September, there's no magic to starting
in October anymore. We can start in November. We can start in December. You're
going to be a little flexible with the schedule, because we want to be able to
bring the game back, both to conclude this season on some basis and to have a
full regular season next year. If that means we need to be more flexible, then
that's what we'll do."

--Field Level Media

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