The NHL could face another obstacle if the league decides to continue the 2019-2020 season in the near future – bringing non-resident Canadian players across the border to join their respective teams.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Sunday that players should – as a minimum – follow quarantine protocols if they were to arrive in Canada while the border remains closed due to the pandemic.
“I think this is an issue we will have to consider,” said Trudeau at a press conference. “Certainly at the bare minimum, anyone arriving from another country will have to follow all quarantine rules very strictly, but we are not there yet in our discussions with the NHL. “
“We recognize that this is a possibility, but it depends on a huge amount of things, and I don’t want to speculate on this until there is more discussion. “
Earlier this week, the Associated Press reported that Edmonton and Toronto were being considered as possible “hockey pod” cities that could host the rest of the NHL season during the summer months. The matches would be played in air-conditioned arenas without a fan.
A person familiar with the discussions told The Associated Press that the most aggressive schedule would require players to return to their ice on May 15, followed by training camp and possible exhibition games in June.
According to this schedule, the regular season would resume in July and the Stanley Cup final would probably continue in September.
The league and the NHL Players’ Association have formed a joint committee to determine a route forward which could put the games on the ice in July without the presence of fans.
The committee said in a statement on Wednesday that it “had not made any decisions or set a timeframe for a possible return to the game”, but still hoped that players could return to their teams for “small group activities” d ‘here mid-late May. .
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said recently that no decision has been made and noted that the government and medical officials will ultimately call when the sport can resume.
The season ended on March 12, one day after the World Health Organization classified COVID-19 as spreading a pandemic – and one day after the NBA suspended its season following a coronavirus test. positive about a Utah Jazz player.
In early April, eight NHL players were positive for COVID-19, including five players from the Ottawa Senators.
Each team had between 10 and 14 games remaining on the regular season schedule at the time of suspension.
Four Canadian teams – Toronto, Edmonton, Calgary and Winnipeg – were all in the playoff position on March 12, with Vancouver on the bubble.
– With files from the Associated Press
This report from The Canadian Press was first published on May 3, 2020.