NHL Hub Cities Update
By: Joe Borek (@jjborek26)
For NHL fans everywhere, there was some more good news this Tuesday. That news was Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, committed to working with the NHL to use one of their desired Canadian sites for a hub city. Those potential cities are Toronto, Edmonton, and Vancouver. The Prime Minister said in the quote, as reported by the Scores Brandon Maron, “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,” Trudeau said. “The decision needs to be made by the NHL and the cities and provinces in the jurisdiction. Canada is open to it as long as it is OK by the local health authorities.” The NHL, of course, has shown no signs of moving to phase four (games starting back up) until at least the end of July but more likely early August. Therefore, the restrictions on travel in the United States and Canadian border valid until June 21st should not affect the NHL restart. This is, of course, as long as those guidelines do not have to change for any further reasons. NHL.com, as seen below, also simply put it NHL players actually wouldn’t be required to quarantine for 14 days upon entering, so going by that, I would think that means even if travel is still effected, they could be deemed essential and again travel. That is not likely to happen as the travel restrictions should end well before, but just in case there were not too.
Edmonton, Toronto and Vancouver each will be eligible to be a hub city as part of the NHL Return to Play Plan, Canada Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Tuesday. NHL players will not be required to quarantine for 14 days after entering the country.https://t.co/Qz3aK3oGeF
— NHL.com (@NHLdotcom) June 16, 2020
As reported before, the NHL is going to pick two hub cities, one for the Eastern Conference teams and another for the West. The NHL would ideally like to select one American town and one Canadian city. This is likely not only because it is the right thing to do with every team but one making it in Canada this year, but also great for the game as they get to honor their roots and host a significant playoff event in one of the three Canadian cities. I applaud the NHL for figuring out perfect hub cities to select from. Minnesota is one of the most hockey driven locals in America with rinks galore. The only issue per multiple reports is the lack of hotel space near the arena. Pittsburg would also work due to having a reasonably new stadium in PPG Paints that has ample space and technology for the teams to use. The only issue here per reports I read is the lack of close practice facilities around the arena, which obviously can be a significant concern for the NHL. Between the American cities, there does seem to be a clear cut favorite. Let us get into that below.
As of now, and it seems likely to be the case throughout, the clear cut favorite to pick in America is Las Vegas. This is because the Strip will be open at some capacity, meaning yes, casinos can be used to an individual capacity as well. So for players, this is likely going to be a hot spot because of how close the stadium is to the Vegas Strip as well as to many excellent hotels. The keyword in the last statement was a hot spot, however, where Vegas does get pretty hot in the summer so it will be interesting to see if the NHL considers that at all. For me, if I were a player, this would be one of the top places even though it will get hot. This is because, at least there is at regulated capacities, more things to do currently than many of the other American possibilities as hub cities. Other than maybe Los Angels, that would rival Vegas in terms of activities to keep one busy while not lacing them up. However, as stated above Vegas seems to be the clear favorite and almost locked in already as reported by Sportsnet below
Vegas will be a hub city for NHL playoff games and we should expect the official announcement before June 22.
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) June 13, 2020
Canadian Prime Minister @JustinTrudeau said today that the federal government is "open" to the possibility of Toronto, Edmonton or Vancouver serving as a hub city in the NHL's restart. https://t.co/rWFrFJvgz5
— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) June 16, 2020
For Canada, it is hard to say as of now who the favorite would be since Prime Minister Trudeau, just announced today they would be open to having hub cities as seen above. However, Steve Simmons, a reporter for the Toronto Sun, seems to think Toronto is the front runner. That tweet can be seen at the end of the paragraph. Toronto, as the epicenter of all things hockey, plus a significant city with many hotels and food options if allowed for players to take advantage of, could be a top option as he states. Then Edmonton should be a top contender since Rogers Place just opened in 2016 and has all the proper accommodations to host all the clubs. They also per reports, have an adjacent community rink for training, making them the possible top option for the NHL in Canada. Although, as said before, still way too early to predict. Whereas for Vegas, unless something changes, it seems they are a clear cut favorite to be one of the two hub cities. Either way, no matter what cities the NHL picks, it is exciting they will get to do what was initially planned as long as all continues to go as scheduled, of having one Canadian and one American city. This, after all, is the fairest plan to not only honor roots, as said before, but help out a Canadian market and an American market in these difficult times. Bravo NHL for continuing to communicate with government and league officials to put the pieces together. Now, if only the MLB could follow in your lead.
My understanding is that Toronto is the choice the NHL would want if there was a Canadian hub city allowed. If that happened, it would be Vegas and Toronto for NHL games. https://t.co/zKznASp8wj
— steve simmons (@simmonssteve) June 16, 2020