Boston Bruins

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 16: A detailed view of the NHL logo on the back of the goal netting before the game between the Washington Capitals and the Toronto Maple Leafs at Capital One Arena on October 16, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)

By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com

The National Hockey League celebrated Canada Day by deciding on Edmonton and Toronto as the team’s hub city for the 2019-20 season restart later this summer, according to multiple reports.

Their decision, which was first reported by TSN’s Bob McKenzie, is subject to the players ratifying the cities as part of the Return-To-Play protocols, which could officially come this weekend. And while this entire saga has come with a “subject to change” disclaimer, McKenzie’s word is basically untouchable. And this seemed to be where the league was trending in the aftermath of Las Vegas reportedly falling out of favor due to a COVID-19 spike.

It’s also believed that Edmonton will host the Western Conference teams, while Toronto will serve as the bubble home of the Eastern Conference teams. It’s worth mentioning that both the Oilers and Maple Leafs are in the postseason, but without fans in the stands (and with all players required to stay on the bubble-city campus), the league doesn’t have any concerns about a potential “home-ice advantage” for either, per The Athletic’s Michael Russo.

According to Russo, all 24 teams are expected to arrive in the bubble city with about 50 members, and will be subject to frequent testing while within a legitimately blocked-off bubble section of each city.

“All those members, as well as NHL staff, tasked with setting up the hubs and the extensive testing that will be needed frequently for players, coaches, team staffers and support staff, will have waivers to avoid Canada’s mandatory 14-day quarantine,” Russo wrote. “Instead, it’s believed there will be a shorter length, quarantine in the ‘bubble’ once the NHL arrives in Canada.”

With players asked to live away from their families for nearly three months, Russo confirmed that the league is also committed to building a “resort-style district” within the bubble for players to enjoy. The amenities will include food trucks, movie theaters, and state of the art fitness areas, which were first revealed to be part of the NHL’s plans in Toronto last week.

The NHL is currently scheduled to move into Phase 3 of their Return-To-Play plan on July 10, and with games expected to begin about three weeks after that accelerated training camp.

The Bruins, who finished the regular season as the NHL’s lone 100-point club, will compete in a three-game, round-robin tournament for seeding. This tournament will involved the Capitals, Flyers, and Lightning. In the West, that group of four will include the Blues, Avalanche, Golden Knights, and Stars. The bottom eight teams in each conference, meanwhile, will compete in a best-of-five play-in series to qualify for the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The NHL has been on pause since Mar. 12 due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

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.