New York Ranger fans and hockey fans around the world received some positive news on Wednesday when reports surfaced that the NHL was looking toward a resumption of play. One of the scenarios being looked at is having an NHL team and city “host” games for multiple teams, similar to having a basketball regional like in the NCAA basketball tournament. Hopeful as this is, the NHL faces some hurdles in implementing this plan or any other during the summer months.
Ice Conditions may be problematic for the New York Rangers and other NHL players
As we detailed in an article back in March, maintaining proper ice conditions during summer months for most locations in the NHL will be very difficult. As far as the ice conditions, the NHL recommendation is for ambient air to be between 60 and 64 degrees at 40 to 44 percent humidity. Rink experts agree that it is possible for every NHL team to maintain suitable ice conditions in those warmer months. This will be an expensive venture, both in manpower and in air conditioning and maintenance costs. The experts feel that that the most important factor would be the diligence of the team ice crews, who will have to work harder and smarter than they ever have to make sure the ice surface is playable for games during the hottest days of the year. This is in part why Edmonton is being considered as a site due to it’s relatively lower warmer summer temperatures and humidity.
Can New York Rangers and other players be allowed to return on their Visas?
Two legal issues that must be addressed are player contracts and visa issues with players from other countries. Work Visa’s have specific dates which probably do not include the summer months. Also, player contracts expire on June 30. This may be an easier issue to deal with as contracts would need to be amended to allow for an extended league year through the summer. Experts feel that could be an even more difficult hurdle as compared to contract terms, which can likely be handled internally through the league and players’ association. However, it is widely thought that both the United States and Canadian government would be more than happy to help out with this issue, especially since it has been reported that if the league does not resume the 2019-20 season in a summer session, they will be facing losses of up to $1 billion.