COVID-19 or coronavirus has impacted the way we live our lives. At this very moment, most of the world is shut down. People are staying at home. It’s time for quarantine. The global economy is going through a recession and sports has been impacted as well. All of the major leagues including the NHL, CHL (QMJHL, WHL, OHL), NBA, MLB, NCAA (American Collegiate Sports), U-Sports (Canadian Collegiate Sports), MLS, Premier League, SHL, Liiga, Ligue 1, La Liga, DEL and others have closed their doors. Games have been postponed and/or cancelled. With uncertainty about how long the virus will remain prevalent, it is hard for sports leagues to determine when seasons and/or playoffs might be restored.
With the NHL suspending play and no realistic timetable on when play might resume, the league is unaware of when the 2020 NHL Entry Draft will take place. The NHL Entry Draft was supposed to kick off on Friday, June 26th at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec. Fans were expecting to see Alexis Lafreniere, Quinton Byfield, Lucas Raymond, Alexander Holtz, Yaroslav Askarov, Marco Rossi and Jamie Drysdale throw on an NHL sweater and draft hat. Unfortunately, the draft time and format might be very different this year.
If the virus remains prevalent during the summer months, the 2020 regular season and playoffs will be in jeopardy. If the season and playoffs were to be cancelled, the draft would likely still happen at some point and teams might be drafting out of their own war rooms/conference rooms. The draft could still be televised, but the look and feel would be very different. Analysts like Bob McKenzie and Craig Button (And DobberPRospects!) will still be providing draft day content, but they might not be covering the draft from the floor of the Bell Centre. With robust collaboration/unified communications applications like Cisco Webex Teams, teams could theoretically announce their draft selections over video. Webex Teams and other unified communications applications have the ability to allow real-time communication for a wide audience. Webex Teams and its competitors offer features such as video, screen share and etcetera. With that being said, these applications can be utilized for events such as the NHL Draft. The Sportsnet, TSN and NBC Sportsnet teams could be on the line as well and broadcast the content to viewers all over the globe.