It has been well over a month since the Vegas Golden Knights last played, and the NHL is busy trying to come up with ways to salvage the 2019-20 season.
Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the Vegas Golden Knights and the rest of the sporting world have been on complete lockdown.
With everyone being dictated to by the virus, there isn’t a clear date for when hockey might be able to return, if at all this year.
However, a potential comeback has begun to gather some momentum over the past few days with reports suggesting that the NHL could look to resume the 2019-20 regular season in July.
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Per Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman is hellbent on finishing the regular season before jumping into the playoffs.
As a result, the NHL is exploring the possibility of playing three games a day in each arena, with up to four NHL arenas being used in cities that haven’t been hit as badly by COVID-19.
Now, according to Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic, the NHL is currently vetting up to 12 NHL cities in order to pick four as centralized sites.
And, per Jesse Granger of The Athletic, Las Vegas is one of those cities currently being explored as a possible option for one of the four sites the NHL intends on using in order to finish the 2019-20 season and crown a Stanley Cup champion.
If true, it makes a lot of sense.
Granted, and we’ll lead off with this, a huge factor in deciding on which four cities they will proceed with will be based on how badly that city has been impacted by COVID-19 and what local restrictions are in place.
With Edmonton, Toronto, Pittsburgh, Dallas, Columbus and Minnesota also in the mix according to LeBrun, the NHL certainly has plenty of intriguing options to pick from.
But there is no doubt that Vegas would be an ideal choice to be one of the four centralized sites for a number of different reasons.
Firstly, T-Mobile Arena has been the perfect home of the Golden Knights since the franchise entered the league in 2017, with both the ice and the dressing rooms getting recognition in the recent NHLPA Player Poll.
In addition, Vegas is a city built to host major events and there is a reason the NHL opts to host its annual NHL Awards Night in Sin City year after year after year.
Also, with each city having to host up to eight teams, the NHL needs to ensure that the sites they pick are up to task when it comes to taking on such a mammoth responsibility.
Vegas ticks that box due to the plethora of hotels that are in close proximity to each other on the Strip alone, with each one within walking distance to T-Mobile Arena.
The vast amount of hotels in Vegas would be able to host players, coaching staff and front office personnel, while adhering to the social distancing rules and restrictions that are still in place.
After all, there are more than enough hotels in Sin City to be able to space out all eight teams and not have players and team personnel on top of each other.
Then there are the facilities.
The Golden Knights are lucky in that they have the luxury of calling T-Mobile Arena home, which boasts a bevy of spacious dressing rooms and the ice also showed that it can withstand insane temperatures after the Knights played into June in the 2017 Stanley Cup Final against the Washington Capitals.
There is the Golden Knights’ Practice Facility too, City National Arena, which is pretty much brand-spanking new and boasts a number of high-quality locker rooms and sheets of ice.
There isn’t a tonne of facilities in Vegas but, given the quality of T-Mobile Arena and City National Arena, that shouldn’t concern the NHL too much.
Plus, if it comes to the point where fans are allowed to start attending games, then you can be sure that those allowed would generate a hell of an atmosphere inside T-Mobile Arena for any game, even if it wasn’t at full capacity.
Again, any final decisions on what cities will be used by the NHL will be dictated to by COVID-19 and its ever-changing nature, but there is no doubt that Vegas and the Golden Knights would make perfect sense to be one of four sites to help the NHL complete the 2019-20 season and, ultimately, crown a Stanley Cup Champion.