By Jen Masters

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman says that the league may have to use a modified “bubble” model depending on the state of the COVID-19 pandemic in various markets.

“Right now, we’re focused on whether or not we’re going to play in our buildings and do some limited traveling or play in a bubble, and that’s something we’re working on and getting medical advice on,” Bettman said during a virtual panel discussion at the World Hockey Forum in Moscow.

The NHL – alongside other sports leagues around the world – were forced to shut down in March of last season due to the virus. Months later, the NHL finished its season with hubs in Edmonton and Toronto. Bettman says he doesn’t want to play the entire upcoming season in another bubble, but says they might have to “adjust” with COVID-19 cases rising in both the United States and Canada.

“So, for example, we have a couple of clubs that can’t hold training camp or conduct games even without fans in their current buildings and facilities, and we’re going to have to move them somewhere else to play,” explained Bettman.

“If enough teams can’t play, again, without fans, in their own facilities, then we may have to move more and more towards a hub. It may be that some teams are playing in other buildings. It may be that a whole group of teams have to play in other buildings.”

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