“It’s going to be a big deal”: Toronto is officially named one of the NHL’s hub cities

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Toronto has been officially named one of the major cities for the resumption of the 2020 NHL season, and Mayor John Tory says it will help the city’s economy get back on its feet.

“At a time when there are no more people, when there are no flights and when the hotels are practically empty, it will be a big problem,” Tory told CP24 in an interview Friday evening after the announcement of the decision.

“It will fill at least two hotels and probably more for several weeks. ”

In April, the city forecast a loss of $ 1.5 billion in revenues this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The mayor described this figure as a “better scenario”.

The NHL and the NHL Players’ Association have announced that they have ratified return-to-play protocols, which include Toronto and Edmonton as major cities, and a four-year extension of the current collective agreement.

“Although we have all worked very hard trying to cope with the risks of COVID-19, we know that health and safety are and will continue to be our top priorities,” said NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, in a press release.

“We know all of our fans are thrilled to be back on the ice. ”

Bob McKenzie, TSN hockey insider, said the deal would give players and team owners a six-year track to repair the significant economic damage caused by COVID-19 to the league.

“I’m sure there are players who don’t like everything about this comeback or this CBA.” And I’m sure there are owners who don’t like it either, “said McKenzie.

“But when you weigh the decision that had to be made in terms of two years of economic Armageddon, then an uncertain future after that versus six years of how you are going to manage the game economy, well, obviously, that was the choices that owners and players have made. ”

The mayor has assigned responsibility for this event to the league and Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment. He said the two organizations have gone through a careful process to satisfy all medical officers of health at all levels of government.

“There were a lot of requirements. No one was going to let this happen without ensuring that you can keep all the players and officials and everyone safe, but also everyone in these cities, Edmonton and Toronto, “said Tory.

He believes the modified NHL season will be a good national unifier.

“This will highlight Toronto across North America when it comes to the world of hockey. When people start visiting again, they will see our city again as they did when the Raptors were in the finals last year, “he said. said.

Toronto will host the Eastern conference while Edmonton will host the Western conference.

The Toronto Maple Leafs will face the Columbus Blue Jackets in the qualifying round.

“It would make fans very happy and proud that these games are taking place in our arena,” said Tory.

“I am looking forward to this delicious moment when, in the Edmonton arena, since the finals will be contested, the mayor of Edmonton must watch the Toronto Maple Leafs hoist the Stanley Cup.”

– with files from The Canadian Press

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