Bruins

Bruins

The idea of the NHL resuming play by descending on a state that doesn't even have its own team seems pretty bold.

But it hasn't been dismissed yet, according to that state's governor.

New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu joined WEEI's "The Greg Hill Show" on Friday to address a recent report that the NHL is considering Manchester, N.H., and Grand Forks, N.D., as possible host locations for Stanley Cup Playoff games if the league can return to action amid the coronavirus pandemic.

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"There is truth to that," Sununu told WEEI. "I have had discussions about that. I don’t know where it’s going to happen, but we are talking about it."

Manchester has hosted NCAA tournament games in the past while the now-defunct Manchester Monarchs of the ECHL played their home games at SNHU Arena, so the city does have a working venue.

And while SNHU Arena can hold fewer than 10,000 fans, it's likely the games would be played in empty or below-capacity stadiums anyway to lower the risk of COVID-19 spreading.

It sounds like this proposal is still very much in the planning stage, however.

"I can tell you it would be a very interesting opportunity for New Hampshire," Sununu said, "but even the venues would have to say, 'Yes, we want this,' because we have to make sure where the liabilities are here. What if a team were to get sick, how is it going to be managed?

 

"So we’re working on some of those logistics. But that’s on the table, for sure."

An Olympics-style, neutral-site playoff tournament in Manchester would be quite convenient for the Boston Bruins, who boasted the NHL's best record before the league suspended play last month and are just an hour away from the N.H. city.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman recently warned that completing the 2019-20 season may not be possible, though, so the Bruins and other playoff hopefuls are still in a holding pattern for now.