Fans of hockey now have something to look forward to as the NHL will attempt to return at the end of July or early August with a 24 team playoff schedule.

Normally at this time of the year we would be in the final rounds of NHL playoffs and getting closer to a Stanley Cup Champion but due to the pandemic, hockey was not able to finish their regular season.

According to WOOD, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman announced there is no guarantee that games are coming back. Currently the NHL and the NHL Players' Association must figure out health and safety for the players, coaches and stadium workers.

Instead of the usually 16 team playoff schedule the NHL will be switching to a 24 team system.

Bettman said, "realistically if we're in training camp mid-July, that would be a good thing, and if we can be playing by the end of July or the beginning of Augus that would be a good thing too. But if it has to slide more, then it'll slide. There's a reason that we're not giving you dates now because anybody who gives you a date is guessing, and we think we'd rather take a more holistic approach to doing this."

The NHL is looking at taking 12 teams from each conference and they will play in two cities. The league has not decided what two cities would get the games yet. They also want to get teams back to practicing in July so they are ready for the puck to drop.

Not sure how all this is going to play out since practicing will only allow six players on the ice at a time with no player contact and no coaches during the voluntary training days.

Players will also be tested daily for the coronavirus before each workout.

Once the playoffs begin, according to WOOD, the top four teams in each division will play a round robin tournament to figure out the seeding.

Games will not have fans in attendance but at least you will get to watch the games on TV.

The way the league has put this playoff run together, the Detroit Redwings will not make the cut this year.

There is no word so far if the AHL will return or how, but hopefully for Griffins fans, the AHL can learn something from the NHL on how to get hockey back on the ice.

This is all still talk and in the works but we will learn more in the coming months but at least sports fans have something to look forward too.

If Grand Rapids Bars Were Grand Rapids Girls

More From 97.9 WGRD