NHL commissioner Bettman confident season will resume

AFP
NHL fans watch the Chicago Blackhawks take on the San Jose Sharks a day before coronavirus halted the NHL season. Commissioner Gary Bettman remains confident play will resume (AFP Photo/JONATHAN DANIEL)
NHL fans watch the Chicago Blackhawks take on the San Jose Sharks a day before coronavirus halted the NHL season. Commissioner Gary Bettman remains confident play will resume (AFP Photo/JONATHAN DANIEL)

Los Angeles (AFP) - NHL commissioner Gary Bettman doesn't know how, and he doesn't know when, but he remains confident the season halted by the COVID-19 pandemic will resume.

"I believe that if the right time comes, and the right circumstances, based on all of the options that we're considering and our ability to execute them, we'll get this season done," the San Jose Mercury News reported Bettman as saying at a virtual town hall hosted by the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday.

"I don't want to sound Pollyanna, but canceling is too easy a solution," he said. "That means you stop working hard to do all of the things that we're doing, and I ultimately believe that there will be an opportunity."

Bettman said the possibility of not awarding the Stanley Cup trophy is "not something I'm even contemplating."

The NHL halted play on March 12, as the deadly coronavirus brought sports throughout the United States and the world to a grinding halt.

The regular season was originally set to end on April 4, with the Stanley Cup Finals originally scheduled for June.

Bettman has previously said the league is considering multiple options for a return to play -- including reported plans to go straight into some type of playoff format rather than trying to finish out regular-season games.

Whatever format is approved, Bettman said, "it's got to be fair, it's got to have integrity, and if we have to do it over the summer on some modified basis, then we'll do it on that basis."

Bettman said he was in contact with executives of other leagues, including the NBA -- which features multiple teams who share arenas with NHL clubs.

"All of the major leagues are talking to each other and our medical people are talking once a week," he said. "But we're all doing our own things, we're all considering our options and we're all trying to figure out what makes sense for our sports."

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