NHL Hub Cities Update: Edmonton wants that Selection
By: Joe Borek (@jjborek26)
As reported by TSN’s Edmonton Bureau reporter Ryan Rishaug, Edmonton and their owners are making a significant pitch to be the NHL’s Canadian hub city. He gave details on Edmonton’s proposal and answered one of the major questions many have. That question is, how will living quarters be arranged? Would people have to room with each other but space out, or would there be enough room for each player? Rishaug reports that there will be enough room for each player in the JW Marriott across from Rogers Place (the Oilers arena). That tweet can be seen below.
Notable here for players – there is room for all of them in the JW Marriott across from the arena. There was some concern about this element.
— Ryan Rishaug (@TSNRyanRishaug) June 22, 2020
Furthermore, Rishaug reports all the details on Edmonton’s proposal and let me tell you; there are many factors to draw players to want to go there. The main one being they will have an Olympic Village style at the ice district with indoor and outdoor entertainment and games as reported by Rishaug. They will, of course, make sure players in this setting follow all rules and regulations about Covid-19. As for the entertainment, they will have golf simulators, basketball courts (the one I found most interesting), movie nights/ video games, ping pong and pool, then last, lounge areas and rooftop patios. This sounds like a potential hub city paradise for a player hence enticing players to want to go there. The other side is they really should not have to be enticed much as it is. Rogers Place is a newer arena with all the amenities, and then some needed to be a hub city for the restart. Also, as reported in my last hub cities article, there is a practice arena across the street, making it a very tight nit compact option for the NHL. Whereas for another contender like Vancouver, players would have to travel outside of the area to go to practice Arenas.
Going back a few sentences, you may wonder why I found the basketball courts factor the be the most interesting out of the village scenario. The reason is, the league, of course, would have to implement reasonably strict regulations on the basketball court side of things where maybe horse and pig is all you could play if that. I would not be surprised if the basketball courts just allow individuals to shoot around, and that is it because otherwise, it defeats the purpose of spacing out. Think about it, why have measures in place to allow people to socialize but while following regulations, if you’re just going to be in close quarters playing basketball with each other. I also thought maybe they meant basketball arcade games, but then why would the word courts be used. The latter would make more sense, but from what I read, I interpreted it as actual nets set up to shoot on which if that’s the case, it will be interesting to see how that works with COVID- 19 ongoing.
Moving on, Rishaug also reports that arrangements are being made with many of the city’s top-end eateries to have a variety of food available to be delivered to players. This factor would make anyone involved want to let alone players. After all, who doesn’t love great food and many options to pick from, especially? The answer is no one we all need to eat, and anyone would prefer the best food available. Another plus for Edmonton is, on top of the golf simulators to practice their swings, players will have specific days they can go to local golf courses that will be designated days for hub city personal only. All safety and cleaning protocols are arranged according to Rishaug. This is a major plus as for most hockey players; their favorite leisure activity is golf. This alone might have been enough for the players; however, of course, having a bonus of the village is a major plus as long as everyone adheres to protocol. I also like how they gave the players ample space to safely relax and wind down with each other via the lounge areas and rooftop patios. Edmonton put a lot of creative thought into their plan, and it shows.
The best part of this plan for me is they are also taking care of the player’s families right away. Even though families of players won’t be able to report to the hub cities right away, OEG (the Oilers ownership) has got them covered. OEG has coordinated with AB Tourism to create vacation experiences for families to take part in while play is underway. That can be seen in the overall tweet by Rishaug that will be at the end of the paragraph. Rishaug also importantly notes the Oilers team training facility would be open to all players as well as, an Archetype facility in the Marriott. Then most importantly, of course, the health and testing protocols. OEG also has a great plan in place for this; they will not only have enough to test players but also staff and other employees who would be in the bubble. This is a major plus because Alberta has seen a low amount of cases compared to many of the hub options in general, which is likely why, unlike certain locals, they would have the extra tests available. Either way, all in all, with the entertainment factor of the village, the additional tests possible, the possibility of golfing, close by practice arenas, and the debuted it 2016 state of the art arena are all compelling reasons for Edmonton to be labeled as the Canadian hub city. However, mark my words Vancouver and Toronto will have something to say about that before all is said and done. Here is the full tweet report by Ryan Rishaug below.
OEG making a big push on the safety, and player experience elements in bid to be Hub city. Details below on what they have put in front of the league and the players. (My reporting in point form.) pic.twitter.com/HzDmp4p7ZH
— Ryan Rishaug (@TSNRyanRishaug) June 22, 2020
Last but certainly not least, while writing this article, I saw a tweet from the score that the NHL is expanding phase 2 groups from six players to twelve marking a positive step in the right direction in terms of resuming play. This is very good to see for us hockey fans as the NHL shows confidence by allowing groups to increase. Hopefully, this means we will see the return of camp on the July 10th reported date. That tweet can be seen below; stay ready hockey lovers it seems things are moving in a positive direction towards the resumption of play.
— theScore (@theScore) June 22, 2020