NHL Restricting Media Bubble Access – Good Idea Or Not?

The NHL resumes its 2019-20 season on August 8, but it won’t be ice hockey like we know it. The action will continue inside a bubble, much like the NBA, but the NHL is restricting access to the media, which has drawn some criticism. There will be a limited pool of reporters inside the NHL bubble, but is this a good idea or not?

Life Inside The Bubble

The 24 NHL teams in playoff contention will descend upon either Toronto or Edmonton with one goal in mind, make it to the Stanley Cup. However, the NHL has restricted media access inside the bubble to its own bank of reporters. News reporters who haven’t made the grade might begin to worry that the storytelling aspect will be lost with a small pool of NHL reporters.

There isn’t a total blanket ban on reporters, however, and they will be allowed inside the bubble during matches, but there are conditions. Only one reporter from each reputable news outlet is allowed to watch games in the press box, where they can then join a Zoom call to engage in post-match discussions.

Protecting the players

The NHL’s reason for restricting reporters inside the bubble is to do with the player’s happiness. NHL chiefs want to give the players as much privacy inside the bubble as possible, so they can unwind and relax on some level.

The players probably won’t be as relaxed if they are concerned about doing anything that might end up in the news or on social media. It’s thought that if the players don’t have to worry about the media, they can focus even more on the playoffs and their own performances.

Is The Ban Bad?

Banning the majority of reporters is arguably careless as they could paint pictures for fans about life inside the bubble. That experience that the players are subjected to inside the bubble is going to be one story that may not be told when the NHL season resumes in August. The reason the NHL wants to limit the number of potential mishaps inside its own bubble, which means letting as few people as possible inside it.

Things May Change

The situation will be monitored throughout, suggesting that there could be changes for media personnel should things not be working. However, the NHL feels it has a greater responsibility to the people who need to be in the bubble, than worrying about those it has chosen to leave out.

The player’s privacy shouldn’t be overlooked, especially when they are away from their families; after all, they need some time to unwind without always being on form. Sure they aren’t going to be able to experience normal life, but they deserve some downtime like the rest of us.

Although the NHL is looking to protect its players as much as possible, the media ban is arguably cutting out the fans. Considering the fans are already missing out on attending the games, cutting off the majority of the media may be seen as a step too far.