With the NHL season still in doubt due to Covid-19 the NHL is looking to neutral sites to possibly host games to continue the season, whether it be finishing the season or just starting the playoffs. The first group of neutral sites that were rumored were in North Dakota and New Hampshire. After North Dakota and New Hampshire were shot down, the talks of resuming the season are again at square one. With the league looking to possibly keep expanding after Seattle kicks off their existence, this would be a perfect opportunity for the league to test the waters in potential locations for expansion teams.
The league knows that another team in Quebec would easily be supported. With Quebec being one of the most rumored cities to be the next to hold an NHL franchise, who else could the league tag to host and show off their skills as a potential NHL franchise?
Hartford has been at the throats of the NHL since the day the Whalers were relocated. Although the Whalers were sold because of low attendance, they also played in a stadium that was run down and undoubtedly deserved a new one. The owner and the governor of Connecticut were not able to agree on a deal for a new stadium, and ultimately the team was relocated and became the Carolina Hurricanes. Given the opportunity to host games as a neutral site, there’s no way that Hartford would let the chance slip away to impress the high ups in the league.
Milwaukee, and Wisconsin in general, has always been overlooked in the hockey community. The Admirals have been around in the IHL/AHL for 50 years now. The Wisconsin Badgers hockey team has been a staple of Madison since their existence began in 1910. In that time they have been to the big dance 25 times and have won the championship six times. Madison is always near the top of the NCAA rankings as far as attendance. This shows that Wisconsinites do love their hockey, and would likely support an NHL team. That as well as the momentum that Milwaukee currently has in the sports world with the recent success of the Bucks and Brewers, it might be beneficial to strike the iron while its hot and try some NHL in Wisconsin. The only thing that might be an issue is the number of cases in the Milwaukee area.
Baltimore is another city that is supportive of any sports team that is put in front of them. The Ravens as well as the Orioles have always been supported by fans, despite some struggles that the teams have gone through. Another convenient part of considering Baltimore as a neutral site is the fact that Baltimore and Hartford are just under five hours apart from each other. Not the closest, but it would certainly be convenient to be within driving distance of the two neutral sites.
Lets just hope for hockey
I think I speak for any diehard hockey fan when I say that I don’t care where it’s played, I just want hockey. While it would be cool to see the cities mentioned above to get a shot at hosting NHL games, ultimately the league will do whatever is safest, and rightfully so. Recent rumors have the league looking at NHL venues to play the rest of the season. Boston is one team that would like to host games. At this point things will just be taken one day at a time. The most we can do as fans is practice social distancing to help this thing disappear as fast as we can.