Canadian Officials Show Support For NHL’s 2020-21 Season
Despite the threats of COVID-19, the NHL successfully concluded its last season in two hub cities in Canada. The league attempts to repeat the same feat this year with the help of Canada’s baseball community.
Top officials from Quebec and Manitoba recently voiced out their support for the NHL 2020-21 season. Francois Legault, a Canadian politician and businessman serving as the 32nd and current premier of Quebec, and Dr. Brent Roussin, Manitoba’s chief public health officer, are confident that the NHL will put together measures to protect teams and avoid posing health risks to the public.
Francois Legault said on Wednesday that Quebec’s public health measures shouldn’t impact a resumption of activities for the Montreal Canadiens. Legault confirmed that he had discussions with Geoff Molson, Canadiens owner, and believed that the NHL has the financial ability to put another return-to-play plan in motion.
“I think the stakes are more on the side of what concessions the players will make on their salaries,” Legault said. “As far as health standards are concerned, we managed to do it this summer [with all teams in secure zones in Edmonton and Toronto], so I think it will be possible to do it from mid-January,” Legault added.
Dr. Brent Roussin backed Legault’s statement and included Manitoba as one of the safest provinces that can cater to NHL games in Canada. Roussin doesn’t see the NHL’s new season as a big risk to public health.
“The protocols that they have in place, the frequent testing, the bubble format that they have really possess a very minimal risk to the public. Certainly, there is a risk at the business level, a single case that develops could have a big impact on the team or the league. But as far as the risk to the public the protocols that are in place make that risk very, very minimal,” Roussin said in a statement.
Legault and Roussin’s statements have big impacts. But despite positive support from the public, there’s no denying that there’s still work to be done when it comes to using hub cities. The NHL needs to come up with safe and effective plans to help teams travel across borders before opening the next season.