By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
One of six finalists reported earlier this week, Vancouver is officially out as a potential hub city for the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
“We sincerely thank Premier Horgan, Minister Beare, Dr. Bonnie Henry and their teams for their incredible support as we worked through the opportunity to host the NHL teams in Vancouver. It has been a collaborative effort from the beginning with the NHL and all parties involved throughout the entire process,” Trent Carroll, the COO of Canucks Sports Entertainment, said in a statement released by the Canucks. “From the beginning, our goal was to help the NHL get hockey back on the ice if we could. Although Vancouver won’t be a hub city, we are still excited to see hockey start up again.”
It appeared as if the NHL and Vancouver were making some progress on settling, but the deal “hit a snag at the 11th hour,” according to TSN’s Ryan Rishaug. Taking to Twitter after the confirmation that they were indeed out, Premier John Horgan noted that they were “not going to bend public health guidelines and risk the progress” B.C. has made, which would explain that “snag.”
…And then there were five.
With Vancouver out of the running, the five remaining options for the NHL include Chicago, Edmonton, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and Toronto. It’s believed that Vegas is a lock for the NHL, too, so you’re really just talking about Chicago, Edmonton, Los Angeles, and Toronto. Interested in a Canadian hub, Vancouver’s exit from has intensified talks with the other two Canadian cities in the mix, Edmonton and Toronto, according to Pierre LeBrun. Both the Alberta and Ontario governments support the bids for the NHL to come to town, per reports from LeBrun and Rishaug.
A Toronto hub city would seemingly take a page from the NBA’s Orlando playbook and focus on player amenities, too, according to a report from LeBrun earlier this week, with MLSE offering a “40-acre campus-like bubble.” Within that bubble, players would have access to Toronto FC’s BMO Field, the Coca-Cola Coliseum, and the Raptors’ training facility. Other perks included potential food truck options, as well as an outdoor movie theatre.
The NHL, currently in Phase 2 of their four-phase return plan, is currently scheduled to move to Phase 3 of their return plan on July 10, and with game action projected to begin three weeks later barring a setback.