Boston Hockey Now has learned that Warrior Arena, the Boston Bruins practice and training facility, and Massachusetts hockey rinks may not be open for another four to six weeks.
In the Massachusetts Reopening Plan announced by Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker Monday, Phase 3 listed “Additional activities and services; youth sports with games and tournaments with limited crowd sizes” as being allowed to open but there was no mention of hockey rinks and that has left local owners and those involved in local hockey wondering when they will get the green light?
“At the earliest, we’re talking four to six weeks,” a local rink owner who has sat in on conference calls involving rink owners, leagues and government officials told BHN Tuesday afternoon. “Hockey rinks weren’t even listed in any of the phases so really who knows? I would’ve thought we’d be part of Phase 3 but rinks are still really in the dark. This is confusing but we have to follow what the Governor tells us and safety does come first.”
Whether Warrior Arena and the Bruins will be an exception to this timetable is not known at this point.
At the end of April, the NHL said it hoped to be able to begin Phase 2 of their return process in mid-to-late May and enable players to return to their team cities and begin training in their respective facilities. Following Governor Baker’s announcement Monday though, Bruins President Cam Neely seemed just as much in the dark as local rink owners. The Bruins hall of famer credited the local government but had no concrete answer on when Bruins players may be able to return to Warrior Arena to train and practice.
“On behalf of the Bruins, I would like to applaud the efforts of Governor Baker, Lieutenant Governor [Karyn] Polito and all the members of the Reopening Advisory Board for their work over the last two months and specifically for the work that went into the reopening plan that was unveiled this morning,” Neely told the Boston Globe. “We will continue to work closely with them, along with Mayor [Marty] Walsh and the City of Boston, the medical experts and the National Hockey League on next steps for the Bruins, and when we have a plan in place, we will communicate that to our fans.”
There was also some not so encouraging news on the international front as well. The NHL has plenty of players hunkered down and quarantined in Canada and on Tuesday afternoon, the United States and Canadian governments extended their border closure allowing only essential workers and commercial traffic to cross until June 21.
The NHL Return To Play committee was hoping to have a formal proposal for team owners and the players this week but following the bi-weekly Board Of Governors conference call Monday afternoon, that didn’t seem likely.