The COVID-19 Pandemic has drastically altered how hockey teams throughout North America can compete against one another. This became evident with the National Hockey League having to select three hub cities in Canada and avoid contention in the United States because of its prominent coronavirus outbreak. Edmonton, Toronto, and Vancouver have hosted the entire National Hockey league for weeks now & will continue to do so until the Stanley Cup Playoffs are over.

Few hockey leagues have maintained the infrastructure needed to continue during 2020, as their financial aid isn’t nearly to the NHLs valuation. This became evident for the “NCAA Division One Men’s & Women’s Hockey League”. It was announced on September 12th that eleven preplanned conferences under NCAA Hockey had been postponed, with their new dates not having been announced. College athletes working towards the NHL won’t have an opportunity to show their skillsets in October 2020 with this recent announcement.

The Hockey Commissioner’s Association issued an official statement. It’s been promised that commitment towards providing student-athletes with a memorable season hasn’t faltered and that organizers from all eleven conferences are regularly delegating to determine how the competition can resume. The HCA emphasized that the health & safety of student-athletes is their top priority, which aids in campus communities not having outbreaks throughout the United States. Statements from the HCA ended by noting higher educational institutions in America won’t follow the High School & Elementary format and will continue to remain shut down where permitted.

Competition Start Date

The Hockey Commissioner’s Association couldn’t provide an official date when the NCAA Division One Conferences will resume. That’s because each of the eleven states hosting these events is permitted to select their start date. It means that countries like North Dakota & Minnesota are likely to resume conferences immediately. However, states like New York & Denver will likely postpone having their athletes compete for the most prolonged duration possible. It’ll create numerous scheduling errors, which prompted NCAA’s formal warning to college student-athletes.

It should be mentioned that whenever NCAA Division One Hockey returns, it won’t maintain the former strength of competition it’s known for. That’s because the Ivy League Conference has been outright cancelled for the 2020 Season, leaving one of the NCAA’s most notable venues out of their schedule.

For two years it’s been anticipated that Austin Lemieux would enter the National Hockey League. Being the son of Mario Lemieux created ample opportunity for the young athlete. However, he won’t follow the footsteps of his father, an All-Star NHL legend. Mario Lemieux also owners the Pittsburgh Penguins & means that Austin Lemieux didn’t have the talent needed to land a position on his father’s team.

Austin Lemieux announced his professional retirement from hockey after Arizona State University released their 2020-21 roster. The Arizona Sun Devils haven’t employed the efforts of Austin Lemieux; inside sources evoked that Austin Lemieux is leaving professional hockey to engage with another sport, with that likely being golf. This announcement is a minorly upsetting for fans of Mario Lemieux & possibly heartbreaking for the All-Star NHL Team Owner.

Sports analysts anticipated that the National Hockey League would allow for Austin Lemieux to compete on a 2nd or 3rd lineup, with his knowledge of professional hockey being extensive. This education for hockey enabled Austin Lemieux to obtain a scholarship with Arizona State University in 2017. He’d compete for 2017, 2018, and 2019 seasons. Shockingly, the Pittsburgh Penguins & other NHL teams didn’t draft Austin Lemieux. His talents aren’t bad, gaining 13 Points in 31 Games during the 2018-19 season. He’d follow up the 2019-20 college-state season with 14 Points in 35 Games.

ASU Coaches evoked that Austin’s presence was a notable piece behind their victory over the last two seasons. What’s even more shocking is that the Pittsburgh Penguins allowed Austin Lemieux into their development camp, appearing at several training sessions. He’d be considered a standout participating & was almost guaranteed a position. Inside sources said the decision to retire is Austin Lemieux’s decision alone, that other professional sports excite the young man over hockey.

Austin’s Future in Sports

Austin Lemieux hasn’t abandoned aspirations to become a professional athlete. When confirming that he’d indeed be retiring from professional hockey, the son of Mario Lemieux would announce his pursuing goals of making a career in the Professional Golf Association. It should be mentioned that Lemieux has maintained notable success as an amateur golfer.

The Hockey Diversity Alliance has maintained a powerful voice in the NHLs fight against racism throughout the United States of America. The HDA has assisted the National Hockey League in their decisions to postpone matches during the playoffs, requesting their opinions & potential policies to guarantee systemic racism is ended.

Influencing the decisions of NHL corporate isn’t something to be taken lightly, which the Hockey Diversity Alliance understands. The HDA responded to the NHLs request to provide legal assistance, two phone calls were held with representatives from the Toronto & Edmonton Bubble. The HDA and these reps discussed which steps are needed next to stop systemic racism, which the Alliance provided 48 hours to complete their discussions.

Revival behind the NHLs commitment towards African American lives came after Wisconsin Law Enforcement murdered Jacob Black, a protestor standing for the Black Lives Matter Movement. The NHL responded by postponing the Stanley Cup Playoffs for two days. Shortly afterwards, the Hockey Diversity Alliance promised that their implementing grassroots programs for African American players & guarantying that Black Executives will grow throughout the corporate division.

Another influential subject that was discussed between the Hockey Diversity Alliance & Bubble Representatives included an onslaught of malicious emails that’d be sent to the organization, which extends toward tweets on Twitter. How these two parties will stop the attack of racist remarks will be challenging, as disposing hateful supports isn’t possible.

An official press release was issued on August 29th from the HDA, stating three requests for the NHL Corporate Division to follow. Those requests are listed below:

  • Increase the amount of African American Executives in the National Hockey League to 3.5% by the 2024-25 season.
  • Use NHL funding to implement Anti-Racism & Unconscious bias educational programs, making it mandatory for all employed personnel under the NHL to start learning. This must begin before the 2020-21 season.
  • Provide the Hockey Diversity Alliance with hockey development programs that introduce Anti-Racism & Unconscious bias educational programs to minor hockey leagues throughout North America.
  • Support social initiatives that target the abolishment of racism towards African American, Mexican, Middle Eastern, Asian, and Indigenous Communities.

The 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs has seen an NBC Sports Analysts lose his position as a broadcaster. This follows after Mike Milbury issued sexist remarks on August 20th during a Washington Capitals & New York Islanders game. His sentiments applied towards woman, prompting an immediate onslaught of backlash via social media platforms like Twitter & Instagram. After 72 hours of minimal responses from Mike Milbury, he announced that he’d be stepping down from NBC Sports. This Sports Analyst was forced into leaving the role, allowing his former employer to avoid more significant backlash.

The sexist remarks stated by Mike Milbury were issued when discussing competitive advances of the Bio-Secure NHL Bubble with Brian Boucher. It was evident that Boucher was uncomfortable with the statements made by Milbury. The conversation began when Brain Boucher evoked that the Bio-Secure NHL Bubble created a terrific environment for teams, allowing for their cohesive skillsets to flourish without thousands of fans screaming from every director. Mike Milbury’s response wasn’t professional, with the former NBC Sports Analyst stating any woman wouldn’t disrupt the concentration of these men.

Mike Milbury was referencing that woman are nothing more than distractions to professional hockey players, prompting the National Hockey League to condemn the sentiments made by NBCs broadcaster.

Former Controversy with Milbury

The National Hockey League has faced multiple issues with Mike Milbury in 2020. His approach towards broadcasting with NBC Sports has changed since the NHL resumed their seasonal games. Two former instances of unprofessional behaviour from Milbury came during a live broadcast with the Toronto Maple Leafs, and another with the Boston Bruins. Mike Milbury determined that Defenseman Jake Muzzin from the Maple Leafs was faking his injury to prolong the clock, which would later be proven untrue. Muzzin suffered a notable injury.

Mike Milbury’s 2nd instance of unprofessional behaviour in 2020 was targeted towards Tuukka Rask, the Goaltender for the Boston Bruins. Milbury believes that Rask was selfish to leave the Bruins & the NHL Stanley Cups to ensure his families safety. The making of comments about a woman being nothing more than objects was the final nail in Milbury’s coffin.

August 8th marked the date when the Toronto Maple Leafs would lose their placement in playoff contention to the Columbus Blue Jacks. This qualifier series didn’t favour the Toronto Maple Leafs after a prolonged postponement from competing, which came to all NHL teams amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. An influx of criticism has come toward Sheldon Keefe, Toronto’s Head Coach. Those inside the NHL Coaching Community feel this criticism is unwarranted amongst analytic critics. It prompted John Tortorella, the Head Coach of the Columbus Blue Jackets, to come towards Keefe’s defence.

John Tortorella held a press conference less than 24-Hours after entering the Stanley Cup Playoffs. He evoked that the discussions being held regarding Sheldon Keefe’s capabilities in coaching are foolish. Negative criticism towards Keefe comes after the Toronto Maple Leafs couldn’t score a single goal in the 5th game of their SCP Qualifier Series. It marks one of the most prominent losses for the Maple Leaf’s since entering new leadership with Sheldon Keefe.

Tortorella’s Official Statement

The Blue Jackets Head Coach evoked that Sheldon Keefe & his coaching staff have done a formidable job with the Toronto Maple Leafs. He’d note Sheldon’s terrific job in strategizing the Maple Leaf’s into an impressive team in the National Hockey League. John Tortorella than mentioned that everyone speaking poorly against Sheldon Keefe isn’t aware of what’s genuinely involved about hockey and that analytic critics shouldn’t talk about the NHL when their knowledge is limited. These are some of the strongest sentiments made by Tortorella in recent years.

The fierceness of John’s statements continued, with the Head Coach mentioning his anger & concern towards fellow members in the NHL Coaching Community. John Tortorella finished his remarks by clarifying he’ll support Sheldon Keefe from now on, and all Head Coaches targeted wrongly by unknowledgeable critics. It should be explained that the Blue Jackets Head Coach made these statements directly to the analysts that review his weekly performances. It shows that John Tortorella genuinely finds these remarks towards Sheldon Keefe unneeded, considering it a possible attack against all future coaches. The increase in lack of knowledge with professional hockey will prompt a continued influx of criticism against coaches that are performing diligently in the NHL.

The Edmonton Oilers have lost all hope of winning the Stanley Cup Playoffs, which follows after the Chicago Blackhawks destroyed their dreams on August 7th. Their goals of obtaining the Stanley Cup had barely begun, with the Edmonton Oilers losing in the 4th Game of their Qualifying Series against the Blackhawks. Feelings of shame have become evident amongst Oiler Players, who competed in their Hub City of Edmonton before being forced out of the Playoffs.

Darnell Nurse, a defenceman with the Edmonton Oilers, emphasized that none of them is happy with themselves for not having the skillsets required to win this series. Darnell understands that the loss is significantly disappointing for fans of the Edmonton Oilers, who hadn’t seen their home-based hockey team acquire a Stanley Cup since 1990.

During the global pandemic period, the Edmonton Oilers turning over a three-decade downfall would’ve been desired by fans. These professional hockey players with the Edmonton Oilers will now watch competing teams play on their home turf for the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The NHL Corporate Division confirmed that Edmonton would host the Playoffs following COVID-19’s implications onto America.

The Fans React

Supporters behind the Edmonton Oilers expressed their shock & sadness towards their home team losing an opportunity to the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Most would remark that after one of their best seasons in three decades, the postponed season prompted by COVID-19 brought a disappointing end to the Oilers 2020 Season.

Fans have also reacted to the inevitable restaurants & bars that’ll be forced to shut their doors after the Edmonton Oilers lost a position in the Stanley Cups. Edmonton civilians won’t likely attend their local bar or restaurant to watch the game, which paves massive implications onto these dining locations prevalent financial burdens. Kelly’s Pub in Edmonton have pre-emptively announced that they’re likely to close from the Oilers losing against the Blackhawks. An estimated two thousand jobs in Downtown Edmonton have now disappeared in a blink of an eye.

Financial Analysts in Edmonton & Alberta have clarified that the $60 Million in economic growth that the Oilers could’ve brought to their city is now lost. It’s now up to Vancouver & Toronto to obtain a position in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, with both teams having also not been victorious in decades. Hopeful change is still in the air.

The 2nd Game for the Stanley Cup Qualifiers has prompted the suspension of Drake Caggiula from the Chicago Blackhawks. Caggiula was competing against the Edmonton Oilers when checking into Tyler Ennis, making a direct contract with his skull & dropping the forward. The NHL Department of Player Safety found this checking overly aggressive, enforcing a two-game suspension onto Drake Caggiula. Most NHL analysts believe that Drake Caggiula’s check on Tyler Ennis allowed the Chicago Blackhawks to obtain victory at Six to Four.

Occurring at the Edmonton Rogers Place Arena, this incident unfolded at 7:42 in the evening throughout the 2nd Period. Drake Caggiula took his anger out on Tyler Ennis after the Oilers Forward forced the puck “Out-of-Play” and delayed the game. Caggiula would check his right shoulder into Tyler Ennis’s head, subsequently not receiving a penalty. The lack of enforcement prompted the NHL Department of Player Safety to penalize Drake Caggiula, guarantying on some level that his lesson is learnt.

The Chicago Blackhawks Head Coach, Jeremy Colliton, spoke to TSN Reporters after the game concluded. He’d note to Drake Caggiula didn’t intentionally strike the head of his forward, Tyler Ennis. The Head Coach didn’t want to enforce punishment through league organizations, as inadequate checking is inevitable throughout professional hockey. Jeremy Colliton did suspect that an organization would take action regarding his statements.

This marks the 1st suspension in Drake Caggiula’s career. The actions he took guaranteed a 2nd victory for the Chicago Blackhawks, allowing them one-step closer into the Stanley Cup Tournament. Unconventional strategies are typically evoked by players when this competing for the Stanley Cup, risking game suspensions for the overall team victory. The difference here is that Drake Caggiula has never implemented this strategy throughout his four-year career in the National Hockey League.

The Trade

NHL Analysts were shocked that Drake Caggiula aggressively attacked the Edmonton Oilers, the 1st team that employed his skillsets in the National Hockey League. He’d debut on October 12th, 2016 for the Edmonton Oilers & compete under the first line-up until the 2018 Season. That’s when he’d be traded towards the Chicago Blackhawks following a hand injury. Analysts speculate that Caggiula feels resentment towards his former employers for the unexpected trade.

As the NHL prepares to restart its season at the beginning of August by jumping straight into the NHL 2020 playoffs, it has announced it will use two hub cities for all playoffs games. The two hub cities announced both are in Canada and include Toronto and Canada.

The league released a video outlining its plans for the safety and health of all involved in the upcoming games. They also address information relating to the broadcasting of the games, the amenities for players and that fans will not be in attendance.

All personnel with the NHL will be separated from the public as agreed to with the federal government. The league furthermore will use the services of Edmonton based DynaLIFE Medical Labs and Toronto based Life Labs to carry out daily tests of all those involved.

To accommodate the feeding of players, a concierge service will be offers for delivery of food. This is in addition to fourteen restaurants that will provide food related services in a controlled environment. Speaking on this, senior executive V.P. of entertainment and events and chief content officer for the NHL, Steve Mayer, said; “We’re creating, for instance, pop-up restaurants that will feature local chefs. The food will be diverse: everything from steak to vegan, from tacos to Tim Hortons, giving our players quite a variety. And our restaurants are open from the beginning in the morning all the way to late night.”

To help with outdoor recreation, the home of the Toronto Football Club, BMO Field will act as a facility for outdoor recreation, while the singing of National anthems on opening day will be carried out by Michael Buble. Commenting, Mayer stated: “We’re really going to make opening night at night to remember.” 

NHL taking precautions to ensure team and player safety

The NHL is taking all possible precautions to assist team players, coaches, assistive personal and arena staff. This was a mandated requirement in order to get permission for the league to carry out its planned playoff schedule. After submitting its plan, it was revealed the league would carry out daily testing on all personal involved including owners, hospitality workers, training staff, medical staff and those working within transportation.

In addition, the league revealed that players are required to remain in the host cities and only leave if granted special permission from the league. If given permission, upon their return, they will be forced to undergo four days of quarantine. The league is also enforcing its mask policy, one that requires personal to wear a mask at all times unless on the ice. 

The National Hockey League has worked diligently to hide their COVID-19 infections. Inside sources have indicated that NHL Executives are informing players not to go public. Few professionals have admitted to contracting the virus, with it speculated that NHL is sustaining a 1.3% infection average. That’d be consistent with other sports leagues in the United States that have resumed operations.

The 3rd Phase of NHLs Coronavirus Plan began in late June, with Austin Mathews being the exclusive NHLer to announce his confirmed infection before Caleb Jones. Playing for the Edmonton Oilers, Caleb Jones confirmed his positive test for coronavirus to NHL Online Reporters. He remarked that when arriving in Edmonton on July 5th, it’s possible that COVID-19 was contracted during flight or in the airport. This speculation from Caleb follows after receiving a positive test of COVID-19 after arriving at the hotel.

Caleb Jones indicated that his condition was asymptomatic, supporting zero symptoms of the coronavirus. This meant maintaining fourteen-day isolation, which had ended on July 19th. He won’t attend training until the 20th and suspects that it’ll take a few sessions before former skillsets are reobtained. Prolonged training is required after professional hockey players haven’t been allowed to maintain team exercises for nearly six months.

Rumours to Reality

Speculation regarding Caleb Jones having the novel coronavirus began after the Edmonton Oilers changed his player status to “Unfit for Practice”. Players designated under UFP Status in the National Hockey League are suspected of having coronavirus. Few have made public confirmations out of fear against NHL Executives. Caleb Jones doesn’t maintain this fear and would instead inform the public himself than watch rumours grow to unbelievable levels.

The Head Coach for the Edmonton Oilers, Dave Tippet, spoke on Caleb Jones public confirmation. Dave emphasized that Executives & Supporters should both respect his player for having the courage to announce his positive case, which shouldn’t even be concerning for Caleb’s health. Coach Tippet speculates that there have been numerous asymptomatic cases of coronavirus in the NHL, with most unaware because of minimal testing. It’ll be interesting to see how the NHL Corporate Division reacts to the Edmonton Oilers, possibly fining them for breaking protocols.

Standard attributes associated with our daily ecosystem were removed with the COVID-19 pandemic & it’ll be years before those standards are resumed to conventional means. This creates an incredible level of uncertainty for millions worldwide, with that no longer applying for players in the National Hockey League. The NHLPA & NHL Corporate Division have made a collective agreement that will sustain six years. Their agreement ensures that NHL Ecosystems won’t be destroyed for either party, which became a substantial concern since March 2020.

Democracy is evident throughout this agreement, with both parties removing conditions from their demands on good faith terms. NHL Owners have struggled with specific attributes & the NHLPA have also found stipulations unfavourable. Owners will receive slightly better conditions, with these individuals spending millions yearly to maintain contracts & standard operations. Owners wouldn’t have wanted to backdown from certain conditions that are now negated but were given no other option, with the NHLPA willing to strike for years to come. It would’ve been more costly for owners to sustain their egos.

Salary Cap

Owners are obtaining heightened conditions that lower their associated costs throughout the 2021-26 NHL Seasons. One attribute iterates salary caps won’t exceed a valuation of $81.5 million, meaning each outfit is permitted this figure to sustain former players & acquire new ones. This is lower than the standard salary caps seen in recent years, which means NHL players will receive lower payments on their contracts. Knowing this in advance can be beneficial for escrow purposes & enable players to account for trades over the coming years.

NHL Fans can sleep happily knowing that their favourite sport is resuming under exclusive agreements. Not having to worry about potential fallouts from billionaires battling each other for 2258 days. There’s also the comfort of knowing that the NHLs position in the 2022 & 2026 Winter Olympics is guaranteed under this agreement.

For players, the benefit comes with knowing there won’t be alterations to salary caps. Markets won’t diminish if teams want to permit trades, or if freelance agents want to make new contracts with unknown organisations. Benefits are provided to all communities in the NHL, which is something nobody would’ve thought possible weeks ago when negotiations were nearly dismantled.