Toronto and Edmonton are expected to be announced as NHL hub cities, Sportsnet can confirm.https://t.co/AMYWMcdzrE
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) July 1, 2020
NHL Selects Toronto and Edmonton
With training camps set to begin on July 10, the NHL needed to make a decision so that teams know where they were going for once the tournament begins. Commissioner Gary Bettman indicated back on May 26th, that it would take about three weeks to determine the locations. This announcement is right on schedule.
Edmonton will play host to the Western Conference teams. Toronto will play host to the Eastern Conference teams. There are reports that Toronto will host the qualifying round and the first two rounds of the playoffs. While Edmonton will host the qualifying round, the first two rounds of the playoffs along with the Conference Final and Stanley Cup Final. The idea is to keep players close to their regions. But this is subject to change.
It is no surprise the NHL wants to go to cities where they can control the environment. And with the Canadian government lifting the 14-day quarantine rule for the players entering the country it made sense to have both hub cities in Canada.
Not to mention, the NHL from the beginning wanted a Canadian city to serve as a hub city. Now they are going to have two of them. This is in large part because the numbers for COVID-19 are much lower, but the way the bids were structured. Edmonton pushed hard to be a hub city as they encompassed everything for the players in the bubble. Toronto restructured their bid for the NHL to make it safer for the players using a local university.
What About Las Vegas?
For about a month, rumours have been swirling around about what cities could host the summer hub tournament. From the beginning, Las Vegas has always been a front-runner. It was reported a couple of weeks ago, that Las Vegas was indeed one of the hub cities according to the Las-Vegas Journal Review. Las Vegas is a popular destination for the players. Not to mention the city has all-inclusive hotels that are right near T-Mobile Arena along with multiple rinks in the downtown area. However, with the numbers climbing, the NHL felt it was best to go elsewhere.
With the NHL hub cities being named, the league will want to finalize plans for Phase 3 and 4. All that will need to be negotiated with the NHLPA. And all the players will have a say in whether or not hockey will be returning come late July or early August. That is if the reports are true that the NHL wants to play at the end of July. They have lots of work to do before to get things in place so players are locked down in their respective cities.
In addition, it appears that the NHL’s return to play plan is tied to a new CBA. This new CBA will help the players and owners tremendously going forward. Especially when it comes to the salary cap and escrow.
Hockey is inching closer and closer to a return, the next thing in the process is for the puck to drop on the resumption of the season.