IF, and it is a big if, of course, there is a resumption of the NHL season, the Boston Bruins would like to host games at an all-but-empty TD Garden, according to the Boston Globe,
Hall of Fame hockey writer Kevin Paul Dupont of the Globe reports that a league source confirms Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs, who also serves as the NHL's chairman of its board of governors, has expressed interest in having the Garden be one of four regional sites the league chooses for games if the regular season and playoffs, paused like the rest of sports by concerns over the coronavirus, i.e., COVID-19, are salvaged.
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Twenty other NHL teams are also interested, Dupont reports. With Boston now considered a hotspot for COVID-19 cases, the Garden as a venue to host multiple teams for whatever format the resumption of the season and playoffs takes would likely be a long shot.
Multiple reports have pegged July as the month the NHL target for an attempt to re-start the season while leaving the league to start the 2020-21 regular season sometime in November with an 82-game season still expected for the 2020-21 season.
With four cities as regional hosts for games, the likely scenario calls for each to host its own division for games. The Bruins, who had the most points in the NHL when the season was shut down, would host the Atlantic Division, for example, with players, officials and support staff quarantined at nearby hotels with strict testing and other restrictions.
On a virtual town hall event with B's season ticket holders on Thursday, Bruins team president Cam Neely said "the players and NHL ownership want to do whatever possible to get this season completed. If that means playing into the summer then we’re all willing to do that. The feeling is there’s an opportunity to be able to push next season back and still get an 82-game schedule in next year. Everything is on the table to try and get the [2019-20] season completed."
Jacobs, the billionaire who owns Delaware North, the parent company of the Bruins, has drawn the ire of some observers, including Massachusetts General Maura Healy, for the company's reluctance to pay its game-day and other Garden employees with the venue shut down as the coronavirus crisis continues.