Being a diehard fan of any sports team is in inherently masochistic experience, as when you pledge your undying loyalty to a certain organization, you’re signing up to subject yourself to a lifetime filled with an unknown amount of pain and misery in the hope you also be rewarded with the ecstasy that comes with winning a championship.
I’ve come across more than a few people on the internet who are fond of throwing the now essentially meaningless term “hipster” around who don’t realize they meet the original definition of the label based on the sheer joy they take in criticizing people who care about “sportsball” but fail to grasp the irony of doing so when they regularly donate to gamers who stream Call of Duty on Twitch.
I mean, I get where they’re coming from, as I can’t tell you why I’m so emotionally invested in a team I only root for because I was born in close geographical proximity to the city they play in. Do I know it’s not healthy that I was genuinely depressed for a few days after the Bruins lost the Stanley Cup last year? Yes, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
The nature of my job means I have to be pretty well-versed in everything that unfolds in the world of sports on a daily basis but hockey has always been my escape of choice, which is why I was especially crushed when the NHL put its season on hold with my guys in black and gold at the top of the standings.
After making it through my second hockey-induced grieving period in less than a year, I’ve been keeping a close eye on what Gary Bettman and Co. have been up to as the situation continues to unfold, which includes rumors concerning a playoff format featuring 24 teams and playing the remainder of the season in North Dakota.
The commissioner is slated to provide the biggest update yet during a press conference on Tuesday afternoon, but over the long weekend, we got a sneak peek at the NHL’s plans to ease back into action when it released a 22-page memo outlining “Phase 2” of a four-step strategy it will be relying on to once again treat us to the game we know and love.
NHL issues update on Phased Return to Sport Protocol: https://t.co/WRnoXeXUrN pic.twitter.com/WA3dKaSn45
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) May 25, 2020
The crew covering the Bruins over on SBNation dove into the details of the document to find the most notable takeaways, which include every arena having a “Facility Hygiene Officer” to oversee sanitation, requiring every player to have his own dedicated water bottle, and mandating coaches, trainers, and other members of the staff to wear masks at all times (players must do the same when not on the ice or in the gym).
All members of every organization will have to be tested before they can begin training but will also be subjected to daily temperature checks and will be forced to quarantine if they test positive, which will spark an investigation into who else they may have put at risk. Social distancing measures will also be enforced during training to a point where you can’t even have a spotter while lifting.
Oh, and hot tubs and saunas are banned, which I’m sure the likes of Aleksander Barkov and Nicklas Bäckström must be thrilled about.
That’s just a taste of everything outlined in the memo, so if you want the full scoop, check it out with some of the free time you almost certainly have right now.