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Bill Daly opens up about how the NHL can play the 2020-21 season

The NHL’s deputy commissioner caught up with The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun about how the league can proceed with next season.

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Photo by Bruce Bennett/NHLI via Getty Images

The Los Angeles Kings haven’t played an NHL game since they beat the Ottawa Senators on March 11 at the STAPLES Center. The Kings won seven-straight games prior to the league shutting down due to the pandemic.

We still don’t know when the 2020-21 season will begin, but the NHL’s deputy commissioner Bill Daly says the league is still working through ideas. The coronavirus situation is fluid. There are hopes that a vaccine will be ready by the end of the year, but it seems like we are still a while away from having fans in attendance.

Daly caught up with Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic, and was asked about some of the ideas the league is working on to get an 82-game season in:

“If anything was proven this summer, it’s that having three games a day in these facilities in the heart of August wasn’t problematic. A lot of people thought we’d be playing on wet surfaces, but that didn’t transpire. The ice held up, the ice quality is generally good. So, playing in the summer is not a problem for us. Having said that, do I want to get back on a normal calendar, a normal cycle, a normal hockey cycle? Particularly with the other elements of the hockey worlds that we interact with … we’re going to try to go back to our normal cycle as soon as the world events permit.”

Daly says the league isn’t optimistic that a Dec. 1 start date is likely, but Jan. 1 could be done. The NHL isn’t too enamored with putting teams in bubble cities again for months at a time due to the face they don’t want players to be away from their families again for an extended period of time.

The MLB and NFL are allowing teams to travel for their games, something Daly said the league is looking at for next season. One major hiccup for the NHL is the closure of the Canada-U.S. border. People who fly into Canada are required to quarantine for 14 days, which is why the Toronto Blue Jays are playing their home games in Buffalo, New York.

The Kings are rebuilding their pipeline, so it will be good for the team to be able to get their players back on the ice. If the NHL resumes on Jan. 1, it will be a almost 10-month layoff for the team.

When do you think the NHL season will resume?