The NHL would prefer to have a Canadian city as one of the two hubs for its Return to Play — it would be a nod to the league’s extensive Canadian fanbase and player demographic, and it’s cheaper to stage games in Canada than it is in the United States. However, the coronavirus dictates what our neighbors to the north will allow.
Currently, Canada is imposing a 14-day quarantine on any individual who enters the country, which is untenable for NHL players. However, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau expressed support on Tuesday for having a Canadian hub city, if it can be done safely:
“Three Canadian cities are asking for it,” Trudeau said, via The Canadian Press. “Obviously the decision has to be made by the NHL and the cities and the provinces. Canada is open to it as long as it is OK’d by the local health authorities.”
Toronto, Edmonton, and Vancouver are on the 10-city shortlist, with Toronto as the favorite due to its experience hosting large hockey competitions and the fact that it serves as an Eastern Time Zone counterpart to Las Vegas, the other likely choice.
It’s worth noting that Trudeau doesn’t appear to have any actual say in this matter, but the fact that he is in favor of such a move can’t hurt. Non-essential travel between the United States and Canada is still restricted until July 21, and Phase 3 (training camp) is in line to begin on July 10, so the Canadian government would be significantly updating its guidelines to accommodate the NHL. We’re about to find out just how much Canada loves hockey.
On to the links...
- Some NHL players specifically planned to have babies during the offseason, and now the pandemic has disrupted their timing.
- Construction on the new Seattle arena has been delayed, which shouldn’t affect the expansion team’s ability to play there in the 2021-22 season, but might require the NHL to change locations for the 2021 draft.
- NHL executives are working to ensure that the AHL has a 2020-21 season.
- The Athletic ranked the 15 worst free-agent contracts of the last decade. The Kings didn’t ink any of these deals, but one of their former players did.
- Lisa Dillman went deep on the Kings’ new analytics team of Rob Vollman and Hayden Speak. Here’s a broader look at how analytics have entered NHL broadcasts.
- Zach Dooley examined how Matthew Villalta filled the hole left by Cal Petersen in his rookie season for the Reign.
- Arthur Kaliyev and Alex Turcotte were both invited to the World Junior Summer Showcase for the second straight year.
- Black Girl Hockey is leading a panel on race and hockey on Juneteenth.
- The Sabres are starting over again. Here’s what Kevyn Adams has to do as the new GM. (As an aside, I used to have a strong fondness for the Sabres since the first five letters are the same as my first name, and the first NHL game I ever went to was Carolina vs. Buffalo. Thankfully, I grew out of that.)
- A new NHL draft board with the top 122 prospects.
- ICYMI: Episode 37 of Crown Conversations spotlights Jon Rosen.
- And finally, L.A. Kings-themed Father’s Day cards!