By: Jess Belmosto | Follow Me on Twitter @jessbelmosto
Massachusetts Governor, Charlie Baker has officially released his plan to reopen the state after COVID-19 caused a shutdown. Something to note is that there is no mention of the resuming of professional sports.
The state doesn’t get to decide if professional sports teams can resume play but since Massachusetts is home to quite a few sports teams, it’s a bit concerning. Should there have been an astrict in the plan in a certain phase for if and when sports return?
Safety Goes Beyond Players
Fans only see a fraction of those involved in the production of a hockey game. The maintenance crew, venue employees, team doctors, equipment managers, so on and so forth. Getting the players to agree to conditions is one thing but what about those behind the scene? Is it possible to keep everyone safe while playing?
Asking players to uproot their lives to live in hotel rooms without their family for who knows how long is a lot. So not only is everyone at the rink at risk, now the hotel staff who players come in contact with or those who clean their rooms are now added to the mix. Do you ask the hotel to tell their staff they must move in there as well?
Restrictions, Restrictions, Restrictions
The talks of sports resuming obviously comes with a lot of proposed restrictions. Some of these proposals have included, no spitting, no fighting, living in hotels, no showering, and no hanging out in the locker room.
Not to mention, the Canadian and United States border is closed for another month. How are players going to get to these supposed hub cities? What about players who returned home to Europe?
Under the current reopening plan, Bruins practice facility, Warrior Ice Arena wouldn’t open for another four weeks and it’d probably be another month of on-ice conditioning before players were game ready.
How Far is Too Far?
At what point do those in charge realize the ramifications of continuing the season is too much? There’s a domino effect. Next season would be affected and so on and so forth. Each team has representatives but are any of them willing to take a stand for the best option. According to Pierre LeBrun, these deliberations and negotiations are supposed to go on for another seven to ten days.
LeBrun says it himself. There is no guarantee. It’s possible that this ends sooner or the talks stretch beyond that timeline.
Biting the Bullet
Personally, I don’t think it’s safe for the season to resume. It doesn’t seem feasible, no matter where you decide to play. I’d like for Gary Bettman to wash his hands of the season and allow this season to be one for the history books.
The NHL is a business and facing a loss in profit is just the worst thing they could ever do. Well, second to paying their employees during a pandemic, of course.
There’s more at risk here than losing profit and the billionaire owners have to realize that. I hope that we see hockey again come fall and there’s more safety planning involved instead of rushing back to play.