Whenever the NHL returns, and however the capacity of which it begins, T-Mobile Arena could house fans for Vegas Golden Knights games for the 2020-21 season.
Gov. Steve Sisolak said Tuesday that Nevada will begin to loosen guidelines on large gatherings in the state, which could impact how the Golden Knights operate on gamedays next season.
“Currently, our gathering limit is 50 people. This new directive will increase the limit on gatherings to 250 people or 50 percent of capacity, whichever is less,” Sisolak said. “This directive allows gathering events at a larger capacity, under very strict social distancing guidelines.”
Those guidelines include mandatory use of face masks and a 10 percent capacity inside venues designed for large gatherings. In the case of T-Mobile Arena, with capacity labeled for 17,500 people, potential home games would see a max of 1,750 fans inside.
Said venues holding at least 2,500 capacity must submit a safety plan “to the local health authority for review for compliance with local public health standards and to confirm that the event will not overly burden the local public health system,” Sisolak said.
That plan will need to be submitted to a state oversight authority for approval.
“Today, we’re taking another step to gradually adjust our lives and learn how to coexist with the virus until a vaccine is proven and administered,” Sisolak said.
The NHL’s season ended Monday with the Tampa Bay Lightning winning the Stanley Cup in six games over the Dallas Stars. The NHL secluded 24 teams in a bubble for 65 days, between Edmonton and Toronto, in the event of finishing the 2019-20 season, which was paused March 12 due to concerns surrounding COVID-19.
In terms of when a new season will begin, that remains unknown. TSN’s Frank Seravalli reported that a “hybrid bubble” could be in the works that would have teams compete in a bubble two weeks at a time, but return home for a week. The NHL still hopes to plan out an 82-game season and complete postseason, which can run on average of eight months.
The NHL would need to complete its season prior to July 23 when NBC begins coverage of the Summer Olympics in Tokyo.
There has been no set start date on the next NHL season, but the draft (Oct. 6-7) and free agency (Oct. 9) are still set to go on as planned.