Dix says British Columbia’s COVID-19 protocols are the reason why the NHL should come

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Vancouver withdrew from hub city status in NHL playoffs later this summer

Vancouver is officially out of the race to become a hub city when the National Hockey League playoffs begin later this summer.

Vancouver Canucks director of operations Trent Carroll said in a tweet on Thursday afternoon that Vancouver’s chances of becoming a hub were over and thanked the provincial government for its efforts.

The NHL turned its attention to Toronto and Edmonton as a potential host, leaving the BC Minister of Health disappointed.

Speaking to reporters Thursday at the Victoria Provincial Legislative Assembly, Adrian Dix stressed the provincial government’s support for the Canucks’ plan to become one of the two main cities.

Dix said the same stringent protocols that have helped control COVID-19 in the past three months in British Columbia. This is exactly why the NHL should want to play in Vancouver, not a reason to look for other jurisdictions that might have a lenient approach.

The proposed format would have seen 12 teams stay in downtown Vancouver hotels, train at the University of British Columbia. and play games without fans at the Rogers Arena.

“There is no blackout,” said Dix of the idea that the province and the league disagreed on the health protocols that would be in place for the so-called bubble that would have been in place around. players and team officials, keeping them disconnected from the public during their week-long stay in British Columbia

“Vancouver – and everyone who pays attention to it – is the best place for them to come,” said Dix. “Because we completely and completely apply the rules of public health in British Columbia. This is the reason to come. ”

According to reports, the NHL had been looking into whether it could get some deviation from the British Columbia positive test protocols.

The Ontario example was cited, where workers who test positive for COVID-19 but are asymptomatic are still allowed to go to work.

“I don’t think the advice would be different. It would be pure speculation, “provincial health official Dr. Bonnie Henry said on Thursday about the idea that Alberta or Ontario could have lenient approaches.

“I was very supportive of the NHL approach and the Canucks plan.”

Dr. Henry said there are a few examples in British Columbia. where asymptomatic workers were allowed to return to work, but these were very specific cases.

British Columbia public health officials have the power to temporarily close a business due to health concerns, such as the risk of a COVID-19 outbreak. NHL officials have said they don’t think a player who tests positive would be a reason to stop a team from playing.

NBA and Major League Soccer officials have said similar things.

Dr. Henry confirmed on Thursday that B.C. public health officials have told the NHL that they must prepare for the possibility of multiple tests and that they should be prepared to delay matches in this case.

“We would take the health of the players and the province as our primary concern,” she said. “In fact, I think it should be good for us … by no means was I going to jeopardize the health of the people of this province.”

Dr. Henry also noted that while most young people infected with COVID-19 do not have severe symptoms, some still do. The fact that some coaches and managers were older and therefore more at risk in the event of infection was also a concern.

Montreal Canadiens goalkeeper Carey Price said Thursday that he wanted to know more about the NHL plan.

“I would not be comfortable voting at this time,” Price said during a video conference in Kennewick, Washington. “There are still many questions to be answered. We are in a unique situation.

“The NHL and the NHLPA are trying to make the most of a very difficult situation and … I would love to play, but we have a lot of questions and a lot of scenarios that need to be covered before you vote yes or no. ”

Dix said he was “very proud” of the Canucks’ efforts to develop their plan.

But he also compared the low infection rate in British Columbia. with the much more serious situation in the United States, including in the states that have also been considered by the NHL as options for major cities.

“I love the NHL. I love the idea of ​​hockey coming here, but I’m also the Minister of Health, and the players and fans and those who work in arenas and everyone in British Columbia expect them to rules apply to everyone. And that’s our advantage in there. This is not our disadvantage in this regard, “said Dix, before the Canucks made their announcement.

“The NHL will make its own decisions. They are very intelligent people. They have their own considerations, considerations that could make Las Vegas or elsewhere a better place than Vancouver.

“But frankly, if you talk about the health of the players, if you talk about the health of society, you talk about public health measures, you talk about an exceptional leader in public health, you ‘talk about a committed and exceptional leader of Prime Minister John Horgan; this is the place to come and i hope they will come. We made our pitch.

“Our case is that we arrive at 3:00 p.m. every day, and public health is number one in British Columbia, and that should be important to the NHL and everyone else. ”

With files from Rob Shaw and the Montreal Gazette

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