NHL Hub Cities: Toronto and Edmonton to host 2020 playoffs as season draws to a close

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For the first time since 2011, the Stanley Cup is expected to be awarded in Canada. There may not be a team north of the border competing, but the two main cities in the NHL to resume and hopefully finish the 2019-20 season will both be in Canada. Edmonton will host the Western Conference and Toronto will host the Eastern Conference.

The NHL return-to-play plan has been accepted by players and homeowners who define Edmonton and Toronto as host cities.

According to ESPN:

“The NHL is now targeting a July 13 start date for training camps,” sources told ESPN. If all goes according to plan, the teams will travel to the main cities on July 25 or 26 and the matches will start on August 1. The Eastern Conference teams will play in Toronto while the Western Conference teams will play in Edmonton. “

The Stanley Cup final will take place in Edmonton in October. All matches will be played in empty arenas.

The NHL has been closed since March 12 due to the coronavirus pandemic. There will be 24 teams – 12 from each conference – involved in the restart. The last eight teams on each side will play a top five play-in series, while the first four teams will have a round robin to determine the rankings. Once the field is reduced to 16, the teams will play the best of the seven traditional series.

The Bruins, who had the best record in the league before the break, will be part of the Eastern Conference round robin.

Toronto appears to be a last-second replacement for Las Vegas, which had been the favorite for much of the process.

The collection of upscale Las Vegas hotels that are interconnected with possible arenas made this an ideal possibility at first. At the start of the selection process, the NBA also viewed the city of Nevada as its only site or one of the two and might have wanted to offer more money than the NHL if the city had to choose one or the other. ‘other. But the NBA chose Orlando, leaving Vegas wide open for hockey.

But recently, the spike in COVID-19 cases in Nevada has heightened concerns about whether it would be safe for the NHL to get there or wise for the city to host an event that would require some of the resources medical services are available.

Edmonton would provide the league with real isolation in a city with many amenities and an area where the number of coronaviruses is low as it is a city much smaller than the others.

Playing in Toronto places the game in what is essentially the capital of hockey. The NHL has offices in the city that is also home to the Hockey Hall of Fame. The city has many ice surfaces available for practice. It also gives the playoffs an Eastern time zone location that is valuable, but not necessary, for television.

The city improved its candidacy during the process according to Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic and TSN who tweeted:

“The resubmitted offer from Toronto was attractive, with the MLSE offering a bubble similar to a more than 40-acre campus on CNE grounds with player access to Hotel X, BMO Field, Raptors at the Coca-Cola Coliseum, as well as space to install other equipment. ”

The NHL initially had 10 hub cities under consideration. Columbus and the twin cities of Minnesota were the first to be eliminated, followed by Dallas and Pittsburgh, then Vancouver, leaving Vegas, Edmonton, Toronto, Los Angeles and Chicago. like the last five.

The league has stated from the start that it wants to wait as long as possible to make a decision to assess hot spots and coronavirus profiles.

The league also wanted to wait for the Canadian government, whose initial policy required people, including players, to isolate themselves for 14 days after crossing the border. If this had remained in place, it would not have been possible to have a Canadian site, but the league and the Canadian government reached an agreement taking into account Toronto, Vancouver and Edmonton.

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