Boston Bruins

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - JANUARY 29: Purple and gold lights flicker around the Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign as a tribute to nine victims killed in a helicopter crash on Sunday in Southern California, including Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna Bryant, on January 29, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Clark County officials switched the lightbulbs to Los Angeles Lakers colors in honor of Kobe Bryant, who played in preseason NBA games in Las Vegas as well as practiced with the USA Basketball Men's National Team in the city ahead of the 2008 and 2012 Olympics. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com

In what is nothing more than confirmation of what always felt an inevitability, the NHL will reportedly name Las Vegas as one of their two hub cities for the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs later this month, according to multiple reports.

According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the NHL has asked Vegas for a non-gaming, non-smoking hotel to house their teams. That, according to the LVRJ, leaves the Vdara and Delano as the two most likely hotels to house teams this summer.

In Vegas, the NHL will have access to T-Mobile Arena, which is the home of the Vegas Golden Knights, and will almost certainly have to have access to the club’s practice facility, which is located about 20 miles away from the arena.

With Vegas all but finalized, the NHL will look to nail down the second and final hub city. Columbus has been considered by many to be the other favorite next to Vegas, and it’s worth noting that the Blue Jackets’ facilities (as well as Ohio State’s campus if they’re granted access) gives the NHL multiple rinks and potential venues to host NHL practices and games.

But the possibility of a Canadian hub city has lingered throughout this process, and could become a reality should the Canadian government ease back on the mandatory 14-day quarantine for those entering the country. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman has been upfront about that 14-day quarantine being a nonstarter for the NHL given their scheduling issues.

Other cities in the running as possible hub cities include Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, Minneapolis/St. Paul, and Pittsburgh. To the north, Edmonton, Toronto, and Vancouver are the Canadian cities that remain in the running as potential hubs.

The NHL, which has tentatively scheduled a move into Phase 3 training camps for July 10, will resume with a 24-team tournament that will begin with the top four team in each conference playing a three-game, round-robin tournament for seeding while the other 16 teams duke it out in a best-of-five play-in round to narrow the field down to 16. From there, the NHL will get back to normal (as much as you can in 2020) and move forward with a best-of-seven format for four rounds.

The league, which paused back on Mar. 12, is currently in Phase 2 of their four-phase return plan.

In Phase 2, players can return to team facilities for voluntary, small-group skates.

Ty Anderson is a writer and columnist for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Yell at him on Twitter: @_TyAnderson.