NHL Expected To Announce Toronto, Edmonton As Hub Cities
The COVID-19 pandemic left the NHL’s board with so many options for the restart but so little time to make a decision. One of the critical considerations this year is choosing the hub cities that will host the playoffs. After a series of negotiations deliberations working alongside new broadcast angles, fans and players are expecting the league to announce Canada’s Toronto and Edmonton as hub cities soon.
The NHL originally plans to host the restart of the season in the United States. But due to health concerns and logistic issues, the league sees Canada, particularly its hub cities Toronto and Edmonton, as a more viable option.
The U.S. currently has 2.7 million active and positive cases of the virus. The fight resulted in about 130,000 deaths, and the country is currently suffering from record-breaking rates every day. Canada, meanwhile, has suffered through over a hundred thousand cases and 8,000 deaths out of testing 2.7 million people.
The U.S., of course, is more populous than Canada. Compared to Canada’s 38 million residents, the U.S. has an estimated population of 328 million. Population and density, however, are weak factors in determining the safer option. Canada’s death rate is about 58 percent of the U.S. and currently holds an infection rate of about one-third. The Canadian government even cited that Ontario and Quebec, its two hardest cities, have high COVID-19 cases due to travel-related cases from America.
Regardless of the reason, the NHL is clearly leaning towards Edmonton and Toronto as hub cities for the playoffs based on multiple reports. Bob McKenzie, one of TSN’s most-trusted NHL insider, recently announced what’s going on between the NHL and NHLPA and the league’s plan to operate in Canada:
“Long night of negotiations/hard work between NHL/NHLPA appears to have resulted in agreement on most issues on Phase 3/4 RTP, CBA extension, transition rules. Still, a couple of items to finalize today. NOTHING, of course, is actually done until both sides ratify a tentative deal. Barring any last-minute complications, and we have seen some of those (Vancouver and Las Vegas), the two NHL Hub cities will be Edmonton and Toronto.”