NHL Combine, awards and draft postponed due to COVID-19 outbreak
Coronavirus has forced the postponement of three big NHL events
Earlier this month, the NHL pressed pause on its regular season as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. Now, they're also postponing some marquee league events that follow the regular season as a result of the pandemic.
The league announced Wednesday that they were postponing three major league events — the NHL Combine, the NHL Awards and the NHL Draft — while the virus continues to disrupt normal operations. The combine was originally slated to be held June 1-6 in Buffalo while the NHL Awards were scheduled for June 18 in Las Vegas. Montreal was set to host the draft on June 26-27.
According to a league release, the location, timing and format of the 2020 NHL Draft (and Draft Lottery) will be announced when details are finalized. The 2020 NHL Awards, if still held at a later date, are likely still attached to Las Vegas, which has hosted the annual event since 2009.
The @NHL has announced the postponements of the 2020 NHL Scouting Combine, the 2020 Bridgestone NHL Awards and the 2020 NHL Draft. https://t.co/m0mXPAyIhN #NHLCombine #NHLDraft #NHLAwards pic.twitter.com/iWZjW1Yw1f
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) March 25, 2020
The postponement doesn't come as a surprise considering the league's entire schedule and timeline has been thrown into a state of disarray thanks to the coronavirus. The league suspended normal operations on March 12 and the status of a future return is still largely uncertain, though they hope to resume play "as soon as it is appropriate and prudent." Given the CDC's recommendations, the earliest possible date for a return to action is sometime in early May, though that seems considerably optimistic given the way things are trending at the moment.
Word surfaced this week that the league is exploring the possibility of playing through August, with all 31 teams being asked to provide arena building availability leading up to September 1. Last week, players proposed a timeline that included the playoffs being played in August and September, with a one-month offseason being held in October before the next league year started in November.