NHL 'Biosphere' Proposal Would Include 24-Team Playoff Format: Report

Dan Mennella
April 30, 2020 - 3:39 pm

The NHL is reportedly considering a radical plan to finish its regular season and then advance on to the playoffs if play were to resume this year.

Under the plan, first reported by Mark Spector of Sportsnet, the NHL would have several teams confined to one of four sites or venues, in order to minimize player travel, and fans would be banned from attendance, similar to the so-called "biosphere" proposals reportedly considered by MLB in recent weeks.

The NHL, whose regular season was interrupted by the pandemic, will obviously have a different schedule dilemma to face compared to baseball, since the MLB regular season was yet to begin when sports were called off.

To that end, the top six teams in each of the league's four divisions would meet to finish the regular season before holding a postseason, the report said. The bottom two teams in each division -- eight in total -- would begin their offseason early on the grounds that they were unlikely to make it anyway.

The league would choose four sites, and teams are currently bidding on being a host city, according to the report.

“It’s like bidding on an Olympics,” said an unnamed NHL executive whose team was reportedly interested in hosting. “You know you’re bidding against other cities, but you’re not sure who they all are.”