Tuesday afternoon, hockey fans saw a rarity: Gary Bettman talking on television without getting booed.
Of course, nobody else was there when the NHL commissioner announced plans for the league to hold the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs, but just the news of the sport's planned return should be enough for hockey-starved fans to cheer.
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Once safety guidelines allow for play to resume, 12 participating clubs from each conference will report to one of two hub cities where all remaining games will be played.
Commissioner Bettman did not announce which cities would serve as the league's hubs, but he did announce that the league has narrowed the options to the following 10 cities:
- Chicago, IL
- Columbus, OH
- Dallas, TX
- Edmonton, AB
- Las Vegas, NV
- Los Angeles, CA
- Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN
- Pittsburgh, PA
- Toronto, ON
- Vancouver, BC
The decision on which two cities will be selected will depend on "COVID-19 conditions, testing availability, and government regulations" according to Bettman.
The league has not yet announced dates for the playoffs or the exact format for how the field will be narrowed from 24 teams down to the eventual two teams that will play for the Stanley Cup, but any glimmer of information about hockey's return is great news for a sport that has been on hold for two and a half months.