The Sharks will be hosting training camp in Scottsdale, Ariz. due to Santa Clara County's ban on contact sports, and general manager Doug Wilson said he hopes the team will be able to open up the regular season in San Jose at SAP Center as scheduled.
The NHL is preparing for this possibility, and as Sportsnet's Chris Johnston reported Sunday, the league has a plan to compensate teams like the Sharks that might have to change venues during the season.
Players will be entitled to a hotel room for themselves and their family, as well as a rental car, parking and a per diem. Johnston added that any move that ends up being longer than 28 days, more benefits could be negotiated by the NHL Players' Association.
The 49ers also dealt with this in the NFL, as they picked up operations from their Santa Clara facility and have spent the past three weeks practicing and playing "home games" at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.
The NHL has said it understandably would prefer teams to play games at their home arena, but also states that "the league will be prepared to play games in one or more 'neutral site' venues per division should it become necessary."
Santa Clara County's initial ordinance on contact sports instituted a ban through Dec. 21, but the county recently extended the ban to Jan. 8.
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San Jose Sharks
The 2020-21 NHL season is scheduled to begin on Jan. 13, and Wilson told reporters that the team is exploring options in the event the Sharks won't be able to start the season in San Jose.
“There’s a couple potential options that we’ve been exploring, just like we were exploring for training camp,” Wilson said. “Could be a hub city. Could be us playing in another NHL city for a while. Until we see our schedule, I don’t think we’ll know which and how many games will be affected.
“We’ll have more information on that later this week. Obviously, our ultimate goal is to be back in San Jose, practicing as our facility and playing games in our building and in front of our fans as soon as possible.”
Training camp will begin Dec. 31, with players expected to arrive the day before.
With so much uncertainty confronting the league ahead of this 2020-21 season, it should be comforting to those within the Sharks organization that the NHLPA and the league will provide benefits to any team dealing with potential relocation.