A day where we celebrated everything that we love the true north strong and free, it was appropriate that the national hockey League has decided that the only way to organize the Stanley Cup playoffs this summer was to do it all here, in the land of poutine, Beaver Tails and maple syrup.
COVID-19 is out of control in many american locations, including Las Vegas, which had been the favourite fugitive to be chosen as a so-called city pivot until the increasing number of cases in the course of the last week becomes impossible to ignore.
Matters little to me at what point the so-called bubble teams will be tight, choosing to bring people into a hot spot pandemic would have been at best reckless and at worst criminally negligent.
The NHL can sometimes be really ridiculous – see the debacle of the lottery last week as exhibit A – but they are certainly not so dense. And so, we are in Edmonton and Toronto, this is much more logical than anywhere south of the border (Sin City, Los Angeles and Chicago were also on the restricted list, the NHL wanting to initially a hub in each country).
The two cities have checked all of the boxes required for the league and its players. This includes requiring the federal government to waive the mandatory quarantine of 14 days for those who come from outside of the country in a blatant example of how money talks and the sport is often called the shots when it comes to policies and procedures that would not apply to the rest of us citizens a modest.
A caveat: Vancouver was the city’s pivotal choice until Dr. Bonnie Henry, officer of provincial health care, do not bend to the demands of the league concerning the search of contacts. Good for Henry to have refused to move, and shame on the NHL for trying to change what has made British Columbia. a privileged location in the first place.
That fact alone should have the sense of the whole world Spidey tingle about this whole process, which really summarizes the almighty dollar and stop the bleeding financially.
All of this is the result of many long days and nights of negotiations between the NHL and the NHLPA held until Canada day, which is always an important date on the calendar of the hockey reflecting the beginning of the frenzy of free agents, but which has taken on a different look this time.
An announcement regarding an agreement in principle on all the protocols back to the game, including the training camp and the tournament without last of 24 teams, is imminent.
You can expect a lively debate, as many players would be less than thrilled with all this. But the alternative is probably worse, which is why it should eventually be approved once they vote, probably this weekend, and things can quickly accelerate.
Details on how this will happen have started to emerge. Unless an unexpected development of the last-minute, all teams in the Western Conference, including the Winnipeg Jets, will participate in arena matches vacuum designed for television in Edmonton. All the Conference teams of the East will do the same in Toronto. There will be many protocols and health and safety. Players will be able to withdraw. Training camps are expected to start on all the national markets by mid-July, with the installation of the washer by the end of the month and continue at the beginning of October.
The development the most surprising of all this is perhaps not that they have found a way to play, which seemed inevitable from the start. No, it is just a long extension of the collective agreement is underway, including a new financial framework for the players and the owners, and an apparent inclusion olympic in 2022 (Beijing) and 2026 (Italy).
This is an important step given the horrific story of the work in the course of this century, especially in these uncertain times. And great news for those who aspire to a return of the best against the best on an international stage, which was sorely lacking in the olympic winter Games of 2018 in South Korea.
Congratulations to the league and to the players for having put aside past differences and found a common ground and a way forward. The last thing a sports fan wants to endure is yet another lockout where the players rich and owners richer compete for the money. I went there, I did it, I bought the T-shirt. I would not recommend it. Zero stars.
So yes, hockey is back. Almost. In a way, even if the NHL, the immediate future doesn’t look anything like the NHL in the recent past. Winnipeg from the Calgary Flames playing in August in a Rogers empty Place in Edmonton, as we all saw it coming.
It is still difficult to imagine that we are at this stage, given that the global health crisis is much more important than at the time the sport is stopped in mid-march. Remember when a single player in the NBA, Rudy Gobert, got COVID-19 and this has been enough to stop the games across North America?
Now, we have 25 NHL players that have already been tested positive on the skids informal in June and most have barely the eye. The only major difference, of course, is the environment bubble that will be created, in consultation with experts from the health, which, according to the league, can mitigate the potential spread, including in the major cities, which should at least benefit from a modest economic stimulus, being hockey. hosts for a few months.
They better be right. I wish good luck to all the people involved, because Edmonton and Toronto will throw open their doors to a great unknown. The last thing we want to see, this is the kind of awkwardness nerdy that has made our american neighbors the epicenter of the pandemic. Even if I am in a hurry to cover again the hockey live for you readers, this may not be to the detriment of public safety.
Oh Canada? Or woe, Canada? It remains to be seen.
Mike McIntyre grew up wanting to be a professional wrestler. But when this dream collapsed, he put all his courage to become a professional writer.
Read the full biography