Has the NHL become too American?
Ice hockey in North AmericaNHL completely reorganized
Leon Draisaitl's travel plan becomes clear. The German striker, top scorer and most valuable player of the preseason will only appear in Canada with the Edmonton Oilers. Because the border with the USA is closed due to the corona virus, the seven Canadian NHL teams form their own division. The well-known journalist Pierre LeBrun emphasizes that this will ensure plenty of competition in the ice hockey motherland:
"I don't know what will increase the rivalries between the Canadian teams more than this division. The teams play against each other nine or ten times - and also face each other in the first two play-offs."
Leon Draisaitl when he was named Sportsman of the Year, connected by video. (Press photo Bauman / Hansi Britsch / imago)
Three US divisions - regionally if possible
That’s the theory. But the practice currently looks problematic. As reported by Canadian television, the province of British Columbia refuses to allow other NHL teams to enter. This could mean that the Vancouver Canucks would have to play their home games elsewhere.
There are three divisions in the USA - all regionally divided as best they can. In order to limit travel in Corona times, there will only be division duels here in the preliminary round.
Fewer games in the regular season
Usually the preliminary round consists of 82 games per team - but due to the late start there will only be 56 games this time. As great as the desire for spectators is, the majority of the clubs will have to do without them for the time being. Only in Texas and Florida will some fans be allowed. The San Jose Sharks, however, have to prepare for the season due to the tense corona situation in Northern California in neighboring Arizona.
Since the points round of the preseason had to be canceled at the beginning of March and the summer season continued with the playoffs, the NHL lost 14 percent of its income. In the new season there is a risk of even greater losses due to empty arenas. The league hopes to be able to offset at least a small percentage with a novelty. For the first time, advertising will be allowed on helmets. According to estimates, revenues of $ 15 million are expected.
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