Canada To Evaluate NHL Hub City Proposal
Canada finally eases its travel and border restrictions to support the NHL’s return to play plans. Based on NHL’s initial plans, the league is considering hub cities from the United States and Canada to host games.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is aware of the NHL’s proposal. As a response, Trudeau announced this week that three major Canadian cities will be eligible for consideration to be a hub city when the NHL season returns.
“We have indicated that we are comfortable with moving forward on an NHL hub in one of three Canadian cities that are asking for it…Obviously, the decision needs to be made by the NHL and the cities and the provinces in the jurisdiction. Canada is open to it as long as it is OK by the local health authorities,” Trudeau said.
The cities in question are Edmonton, Toronto, and Vancouver. They are on a par with Chicago, Dallas, Columbus, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Minneapolis/St. Paul, and Pittsburgh—other hub cities to be considered by the NHL—in terms of size and logistic capabilities. The NHL is specifically considering hub cities that can accommodate 24 teams while imposing social distancing and other pandemic-related protocols.
The NHL immediately thanked Trudeau for his response. However, the league said that Canada would be removed from the options if outside players are required to complete the mandatory 14-day quarantine currently in effect. As of writing, Canada’s border connecting to the United States is closed to nonessential travels. The protocol remains in effect until July 31, but local authorities already started allowing NHL players to go back home or rejoin their teams for training.
With multiple options on the table, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman admitted that the league hasn’t made a decision yet. “The league will continue to work with the respective provincial governments and health authorities in the coming days as we consider our hub cities decision,” Brettman said in an interview.
In the meantime, the NHL hopes to progress to the third phase of plans after the second return-to-play protocol was finalized. On July 10, the league will allow the total reopening of training camps to officially start the competition later this summer.