A good signifier that the NHL season is coming to an end is when the weather just becomes too warm to be "hockey weather." The Stanley Cup, usually held in late May and throughout June (depending on the length of the playoffs), ends right before the summer officially begins, and marks the start of the waiting period until NHL action starts up again in October.
Hockey in July? That may be what the coronavirus pandemic has officially pushed us to.
Rumored to be a potential plan for a while, one team president has confirmed that the league is looking to lay out a plan that would allow this resumption of action to occur.
However, soon after this report, ESPN posted that the idea of "neutral sites" had fizzled out and that the league is no longer considering this possibility. According to what sources told ESPN, regional home rinks would represent each division. As it stands, the current favorites are the home rinks for the Carolina Hurricanes (Metropolitan Division), Edmonton Oilers (Pacific Division) and Minnesota Wild (Central Division), whereas there aren't any reports of what would be used for the Atlantic Division.
Similarly to what MLB is looking to do in order to bring baseball back in a timely fashion, the contests would take place in limited spaces so as to limit travel and widespread activity. No fans means no gate revenue, which is obviously an issue that any league will have to overcome as a result of this process, but many athletes, fans and executives have agreed that sports is better than no sports.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, a leader in the effort to fight coronavirus, has previously supported the idea of playing sports in isolation without any fans, though he was asked about Fall sports like football.
"There's a way of doing that," Fauci said. "Nobody comes to the stadium -- put [the players] in big hotels, you know, wherever you want to play -- keep them very well surveilled, have them tested like every week."
No plan has been finalized, as Slater mentioned in his tweet, but the fact that a team president has publicly stated that the idea is in motion, we could have NHL action this summer.