With the NHL season still on hold, the league has decided to postpone major events that occur following the conclusion of the season.
Today, the NHL announced they have postponed the NHL Scouting Combine, the 2020 Bridgestone NHL Awards, and the 2020 NHL Draft.
These moves were necessary as the league is still deciding about how this season will play out, with no answer to that as of today. The league-mandated quarantine has been extended, while more cases have broken out in Ottawa, the only team to be affected by the novel coronavirus so far.
The postponement of these events that were scheduled throughout the month of June most likely means that the league believes NHL hockey will not be back until July or even August, given how the season gets back underway, whether finishing off the regular season or right into the playoffs.
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2020 Scouting Combine
Scheduled for June 1st to June 6th in Buffalo, NY, the Scouting Combine will be scheduled for a later date. With NHL players being told to stay home, in quarantine until April 3rd, we must imagine that draft-eligible players are being told to do the same.
Since these players do not have contracts, they do not have to abide by NHL rules. They can continue skating and working out, without facing any substantial penalty.
This move does not have any effect on players already playing in the NHL, but draft-eligible players may be unable to work out with their trainers to prepare for the combine, which can create some issues.
But with the date being moved later, this will give these players a chance to get back into their routines once everything gets back to normal.
2020 Bridgestone NHL Awards
We have been witness to some amazing experiences at the NHL awards year after year. The Stanley Cup Playoffs have always been completed before the awards, so the event scheduled for June 18th in Las Vegas will not happen then.
The date for this event will not be chosen until the league creates a schedule for post-season play. Last year’s award ceremony was something special, as Montreal Canadiens netminder Carey Price stole the show surprising a fan who he had made a special connection with during the regular season.
Celebrating the accolades and performances of players as one big family is something special for everyone involved. While this is not a top priority right now, the chance of the awards being canceled is a possibility given if and when the season gets underway.
2020 NHL Draft
The NHL Draft, which was scheduled for June 26th (first round) and June 27th (second round) in Montreal will take place at a later date. This includes the Draft Lottery. More information will be released as the league office decides the proper way to go about this.
Technically speaking, the NHL Draft does not need to be done in person, as a conference call consisting of representatives from each team may become the best alternative route. Regardless, if the NHL season starts up again, or is canceled, the entry-level draft is a necessity.
If the virus does continue to grow, the league will have no choice but to do it remotely. Having the draft remotely does take away from the atmosphere of the event for the young players and their families. This is one of the most important days for a young player’s’ career, as it is the first step in achieving their lifelong goal at making it to the NHL.
Being able to throw on their first NHL jersey, taking pictures and shaking hands with management and franchise players would not be the reality if the league decides to forgo an in-person draft. Fans would not be given the ability to celebrate, or boo, their team’s picks which becomes a blessing and a curse.
The worst thing about all these events being postponed is the fact that fans cannot boo NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, which has become the usual wherever and whenever he takes the podium at league events.
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Nobody knows when the season will resume, and it was a no brainer to postpone these events. As time goes on, the commissioner and the league will decide on how to proceed. As of now, we must just stay patiently waiting, as we await the return of NHL hockey.