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NHL NEWS – SUNDAY EDITION – May 25 2020

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Canadian NHL teams offer season ticket holders rebate or refund options

Refund options were presented to season ticket holders of Canada’s NHL teams. The Canadian Press reports that reality has set in for the NHL clubs. There will be no more 2019-2020 regular-season games with fans in attendance. Canada’s NHL teams have offered their season-ticket holders options including rebates or refunds.

Between May 13-16, all seven of Canada’s NHL teams contacted their season ticket holders with offers. Some with a deadline to make a decision. Toronto Maple Leafs season ticket holders will receive a credit applied to their accounts if they failed to declare wanting their money back by Victoria Day. The Canucks season ticket holders deadline was March 12. Montreal Canadiens ticket holders had to make a decision by May 22.

“It has become increasingly apparent, that any possibility will not include any further games being played this season in front of fans at Bell MTS Place,” the Winnipeg Jets said in an email.

Canadian Press

Typically paid upfront, money from sales of season tickets is a fundamental part of an NHL team’s business. Canadian teams are offering refunds to season ticket-holders. They are pushing a number of incentives that let them keep the money.

What Canada’s NHL teams are offering based on emails sent to season-ticket holders.

Leafs Team Logo

Toronto Maple Leafs – 7 Games Remaining

A credit was applied to next season for those who didn’t request a refund by May 18 .

The first installment on 2020-21 season tickets was delayed from April 8 to June 8, with the option of applying the credit to it.

Edmonton Oilers – 7 Games Remaining

A 5% rebate on that money calculated from April 1 to Oct. 1 if a credit is applied to next season by June 1. The 5% is also applied to accounts if clients top up their accounts or pay for next season in full by June 1,

Senators Logo

Ottawa Senators – 4 Games Remaining

The Sens offered season ticket holders 25% off next season’s package back in March.

“you will not lose the value of the tickets you have purchased. We have received your request for a refund, and are working to process your request as quickly as we can.”

Senators Owner Eugene Melnyk – May 16 email

Winnipeg Jets – 4 Games Remaining

Next season’s renewal is discounted by 3% of the credit balance, accrued from March 12 until the first “home pre- or regular-season game at Bell MTS Place.”

Calgary Flames – 8 Games Remaining

Option 1: Receive a food and beverage voucher worth 5% of the credit.

Option 2: 3% interest on the value of the credit starting April 1 “until the date the 2020-21 regular season schedule is announced.”

Vancouver Canucks Line Up Logo

Vancouver Canucks – 6 Games Remaining

Incentives to not ask for your money back are: Doubling your Rogers Arena food and beverage allowance to $400

No price increase on 2020-21 season tickets, the credit serves as a down payment on next season, payment flexibility and no payment plan fees.

A decision on credit or refund is open until June 3, after which a credit will be applied to next season.

Montreal Canadiens – 4 Games Remaining

By accepting the credit it increases it by half its value e.g.$400 credit becomes $600 and freezes the price on renewing at 2019-20 levels.

Habs season seat owners were also offered flexible payment options but had to decide on credit or refund by Friday May 22.


NHLPA VOTE FOR 24 TEAM RETURN TO PLAY FORMAT

There has been a plethora of talk regarding options for returning to play for the NHL. With rapidly changing circumstances due to the Covid-19 Pandemic it has been difficult to nail down any concrete steps.

Player reps for the NHL’s 31 teams agreed to a 24 team return to play format on Friday. There is some discrepancy on the details beyond that. Chris Johnston of Sportsnet reports that the format agreed upon was:

“A 24-team return-to-play format that will see the top four seeds in each conference given ‘byes’ directly to the playoffs while the other 16 enter a best-of-five play-in round to determine their opponents.”

Chris Johnston

Pierre Lebrun has a slightly different take on the agreement. He reports that the format isn’t quite as clear as Chris believes. The difference pertains to the 16 teams’ series length.

Aside from the bracketing versus re-seeding decision, another open issue on the 24-team format: whether the first round of the actual playoffs (16 teams) should be the normal best-of-7 or instead a best-of-5 like the play-in series beforehand…

Pierre LeBrun

Chris Johnston and Elliotte Friedman are discussing the playoff format pictured below.


It’s a very basic framework. An enormous list of items remains to be worked out. Items more significant in scope than the framework the Executive Board of the NHLPA agreed on Friday night. Still, it’s a critical step forward. This is the first sign of tangible progress towards finishing the 2019-20 NHL season. The NHL has been on hold since March 12 due to the Covid-19 Pandemic.

Some of the other details Elliotte Friedman and I have reported on in recent days are still subject to further discussion — namely if a bracketed playoff format will be used, as is the NHL’s preference, or if seeding might apply instead.

That will help determine what the initial round-robin games played between the top four seeds mean. There had been thought they would be used to allow for some jockeying between positions, but the precise mechanics behind that still need to be hashed out.

And if a seeding system is used, it’s hard to imagine anyone other than the Boston Bruins ending up with the No. 1 spot in the Eastern Conference given that they had an eight-point lead over Tampa when the season was paused.

File that under a matter for another day.

Chris Johnston – @reporterchris – Sportsnet

Understandably, there has yet to be a timeline finalized. There are many unknowns that are beyond the control of the NHL. NHL and NHLPA have yet to negotiate; health and safety protocols for players and teams; how family members will be included in the hub city sites; and perhaps most importantly, the economic implications stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic.

There is a great benefit of all the talks and scenario planning by Gary Bettman and the NHL. I would assume Donald Fehr and the NHLPA as well. All of these plans are contingent upon the green light by Governments and Health Authorities. Moving forward the parties will be ready to quickly offer options to be voted on.

Many fans question the point of even resuming the playoffs under some of the scenarios that have been discussed. The reality is that the NHL and the NHLPA have a huge financial commitment. They are on the hook for up to $1.15 billion in lost revenue if the season does not resume.

Some players pushed for a defined timeline before agreeing on the format. Others were hoping for a firm date to return to the ice. Reading the reports by industry reporters that can range from the end of July to sometime in August. The playoffs would finish in September and October in an August return. The 2020-2021 campaign would begin in December.

Many details are still up for debate. They are at the mercy of Officials in many levels of Government and Health Authorities.

The proposal is not perfect. Many people involved were not happy with some of the inclusions. The proposal is a crucial step once it’s deemed safe to resume play.

“At the end of the day, nobody gets exactly what they want,”

“But we all want what is best for hockey and to continue to grow the game.”

Kris Letang, Pittsburgh’s NHLPA rep, in a conversation with Elliotte Friedman Friday night

For now, there is a format in place for which teams will return and how the playoffs will proceed. The NHL will make a formal announcement after being notified of the NHLPA’s decision.


ONE ROADBLOCK CLEARED FOR NHL RETURN

TSN is reporting that the US Government has opened its borders to allow foreign-born professional athletes to enter the country. These athletes will be exempt from travel restrictions.

“Professional sporting events provide much needed economic benefits, but equally important, they provide community pride and national unity,” Wolf said in a statement released by DHS. “In today’s environment, Americans need their sports. It’s time to reopen the economy and it’s time we get our professional athletes back to work.”

Chad Wolf – Acting Secretary of Homeland Security, USA


U.S. OPENS BORDER TO FOREIGN PRO ATHLETES By TSN.ca Staff