Fans or no fans?
The biggest and most pressing question facing the NHL prior to the 2020-21 season is whether or not fans will be allowed back into arenas and, if they are, when that will be.
It seems almost certain that the 2020-21 season will start without fans, unless we are treated to some kind of medical miracle when it comes to a vaccine being developed for the COVID-19 Pandemic.
With that seeming almost impossible right now, it seems like the NHL won’t have any choice but to start the 2020-21 season without fans in the building.
Not only will it be strange to see an empty T-Mobile Arena, but teams will continue to take body blows financially without full or even half-full arenas.
Let’s hope, of course, that fans will be allowed back in at some point in early 2021 both for the overall product and the financial health of all 31 franchises.
There is a road map to getting fans back into buildings as we’ve seen in the National Football League, with certain teams having limited capacity for games this season.
The Kansas City Chiefs and the Dallas Cowboys are just two of the NFL franchises that have had some fans in attendance this season, and there are certain protocols in place that the National Hockey League could follow.
The major difference of course is the fact that NFL stadiums are outdoors, whereas NHL arenas are indoors so that will greatly impact how many people will be allowed to attend games.
We’ve seen across Europe that other top hockey leagues have had to adapt to much smaller numbers inside arenas, and that’s something the Golden Knights will have to get used to at T-Mobile Arena for the first part of the 2020-21 season at least.
Overall, the situation for the 2020-21 NHL season is fluid and it will remain that way going forward with things likely to change on a daily basis.
But, as far as the Vegas Golden Knights are concerned, they will be preparing for puck drop in early January and, anything else after that is up for debate right now, but expect to hear about more developments regarding the 2020-21 NHL season in the coming weeks.