The on-again, off-again reports of Manchester, New Hampshire serving as a potential location for an NHL return are on again. In an interview on WEEI Friday, New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu said that he has indeed had discussions involving SNHU Arena hosting NHL games if and when the league ends its Coronavirus pause and plays out the rest of the 2019-20 NHL season.
“There is truth to that,” Sununu said. “I have had discussions about that. I don’t know whether it’s going to happen, but we are talking about it. That’s all I can really say right now. I can tell you it would be a very interesting opportunity for New Hampshire, 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.”
When the original idea of saving the 2019-20 NHL season and playing in a neutral site was floated, Manchester, NH, along with Grand Forks, North Dakota were mentioned as potential cities that the NHL was willing to set up shop in. Under 24 hours later though, a Manchester Union Leader story cited a source calling that report false.
“Zero conversations with anyone,” a source texted the Union Leader’s Michael Cousineau. “Never heard it before you called. Not happening here, makes zero sense.”
Now it appears though that the 9,582-seat arena that served as the home to the Los Angeles Kings’ AHL affiliate from 2001-2015, could do so for a group of NHL teams this summer. SNHU also served as the Kings’ ECHL affiliate from 2015-18 and then as an independent ECHL team for the 2018-19 season. The AHL Monarchs won the Calder Cup in the 2014-15 season. There has been no discussion of what sites each team, would play at but with Manchester just 45 minutes north, the Boston Bruins could be calling SNHU Arena home this summer.