98.5 The Sports Hub staff report
It’s “looking like” the National Hockey League will set up shop in Las Vegas and Toronto as their hub cities for the play-in tournament and 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs, according to The Athletic’s Arthur Staple.
This news, if true, shouldn’t shock anybody.
Beginning last week with six finalists, Vancouver’s official exit from the process last Friday left the NHL with five options. And with Vegas long-rumored to be one of their choices, you were really talking about a four-city race between Chicago, Edmonton, Los Angeles, and Toronto. Reading into the idea that the NHL (wisely) wanted to set up shop in Canada if possible, too, and you’re essentially talking about a race between Edmonton and Toronto.
And Toronto’s bid, led by MLSE, seemed to provide some extremely interesting options for the NHLPA.
As detailed by Pierre LeBrun on TSN’s Insider Trading last week, Toronto’s hub city pitch would include 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. This, while not the exact same, is essentially the NHL’s version of what the NBA is providing to their players in their Disney World bubble.
According to Staple, this plan would see the West set up shop in Vegas, while the East would camp in Toronto.
But the timeline still remains a bit of a mystery, as noted by TSN’s Bob McKenzie, who says we could very well go yet another day without an announcement from the NHL.
The NHL is currently scheduled to move into Phase 3 of their four-phase Return To Play plan on July 10.