Today the government of Canada announced that they would be open to having the NHL use one of Toronto, Vancouver and Edmonton as “hub cities” for the NHL’s Return to Play.
Quote: "Three Canadian cities are asking for it. 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 okayed by the local health authorities."— Adam Huras (@adamhuras) June 16, 2020
Ontario’s Minister of Sport followed up with this:
Ontario is committed to working with public health, @MLSEPR & the @NHL to support Toronto as a hub city. We are home to the @HockeyHallFame, @MapleLeafs are a storied franchise & part of the original 6 & given our early @ExploreON work on sports training facilities we are ready. https://t.co/Bmhmj7W94Z— Lisa MacLeod (@MacLeodLisa) June 16, 2020
This came just after the announcement that the current restriction on the Canada-US border will remain in place for another month. Those restrictions do not prevent players from crossing the border to return to their home city for the Phase 2 portion of the NHL gradual resumption of activities that is going on now.
But, at this time, there has been no lifting of the requirement for all incoming travellers to Canada to self-isolate for 14 days.
The unstated assumption behind this announcement from Prime Minister Trudeau today is that there will be some adjustment made to that regulation to allow the entry of teams from US cities when the time comes without a 14-day delay. That time would not be for approximately one month to six weeks from now, however.
The NHL and NHLPA have yet to finalize the protocols and formats for Phase 3 (training camp) and the playoffs to follow, beyond the format of playoff matchups previously announced. It has been reported that only one vote of the NHLPA executive board (31 player representatives) will take place covering the entire package.
For now, the NHL can only make plans, until they have that vote, they can’t implement any of them.
Pierre LeBrun has been following this story:
The NHL had another Board of Governors call today, it began at 3 pm ET. The league has held one every two weeks since March 12 when the season went on pause.— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) June 15, 2020
As of this morning, none of the 10 NHL organizations on the Hub city list have been told they’re out. Not yet anyway.... the impending Canadian federal government decision on quarantine likely looms large on the cut down process from the NHL. https://t.co/xj6NWEV7Wg— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) June 15, 2020
He reported yesterday that the NHL has involved the NHLPA in this discussion on which cities to choose, and is not intending to present a fait accompli to the players.