This week is expected to have a lot of news, as the decision for Hub Cities for the NHL is expected to be officially released. With it will likely come with information on where players and staff will be staying and how they will be keeping safe during this pandemic.
While the name of the Hub Cities were supposed to be kept secret, it’s likely going to be Vegas in the West, and Toronto in the East. This is all pending approval and special treatment from all the governments involved.
“Ideally, the NHL would like to have a Canadian city serve as a hub alongside Vegas, but that won’t be finalized until the federal government makes a ruling. Toronto is the preferred destination, assuming the quarantine issue can be managed.” - Sportsnet
So I guess the Tampa Bay Lightning are heading to Toronto after all. There’s still one main holdup on this plan by the NHL; work visas. The standard 14-day quarantine in Canada is also a factor the NHL is currently lobbying to be waived in special circumstances, and they seem confident they’ll get it.
“As the NHL and NHLPA negotiate an agreement to resume play, work visas must be addressed. The league’s calendar ‘ends’ on June 30, and visas expire at that time. Since the pandemic makes it extremely difficult for the quick process of renewals, players were told in a memo ‘it is essential that you return as soon as possible to give your club enough time to process a renewal application on your behalf.’” - Sportsnet
Another thing that’ll affect games will be the lack of fans present. While some areas of the US are allowing people to congregate in larger groups, it doesn’t look like the NHL is considering it (or are able to consider it) at all. The players are being their typical player self about this situation.
“It’s not going to be the same, there’s no doubt about that,” Oilers captain Connor McDavid said. “It sucks, frankly, but we’ve got to do it to get back to playing hockey. I’m sure those fans will be cheering loud in their living rooms. “It’ll suck, but we gotta do what we gotta do.” - AP
Please tell us again how much it sucks, Connor. Just be glad your team got in the playoffs to begin with.
An Arizona Coyotes staff member has tested positive for COVID-19, but has thankfully been asymptomatic and in isolation. Arizona has recently seen another massive spike in cases, with 3,194 new cases over the weekend alone.
“In a statement, the Coyotes say the staff member is “asymptomatic and feeling well.” The staff member is now in isolation at his home, according to the team, and all who have had close contact with the staff member have been notified. All other Coyotes staff and players involved in the NHL’s Phase 2 testing protocol have tested negative for COVID-19.” - Sportsnet
Todd Little from Litter Box Cats (Florida Panthers SBN blog) has a cool bit of memorabilia up on his Ebay. It’s a lineup booklet from a preseason tournament between the Tampa Bay Lightning and Minnesota North Stars back in 1992. If anyone’s interested, the link can be found here.