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Report: NHL Rules Out Neutral Sites, Looking to Return in '2-4' Team Arenas

The National Hockey League has stepped away from its plan to use non-NHL rinks in neutral sites to resume its season, according to Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman and ESPN's Greg Wyshynski

The NHL was reportedly considering holding the rest of its season in locations such as New Hampshire or North Dakota during the summer but had not discussed any final details with the NHLPA. The plan never got out of "concept stages" due to challenges in staging and televising games and lack of accommodations, per Wyshynski.

"Anything we're considering doing starts with health and well-being, whether it's the players or other personnel or fans or the community at large. Everybody is going through a tough time," NHL commissioner Gary Bettman told Ron MacLean on "In Conversation." "We're hopeful that by doing the right things in the short term that we're able to come back and hopefully complete this season on some basis that is fair and has integrity."

Despite games being suspended since mid-March due to the coronavirus pandemic, the NHL still intends to complete the regular season. According to Wyshynski, the NHL's latest plan includes holding games in two to four team arenas rather than neutral sites. The locations would reportedly be determined by how hard the area has been hit by COVID-19, in addition to state restrictions. 

There is still no timetable of a potential return to the NHL season, per Wyshynski. The NHLPA would have to agree to any decided plan. 

The NHL is one of many sports leagues attempting to make plans to resume their season. Major League Baseball has reportedly considered hosting all games in Arizona starting in May, while the National Basketball Association is reportedly considering a 25-day plan to end the season's suspension.

Bettman has said that completing the regular season may not be a possibility. The league has postponed its draft and combine due to the coronavirus outbreak.