It looks like hockey is finally coming back — and specifically to the Great White North.
Barring unforeseen setbacks, Edmonton and Toronto are expected to be named as hub cities for the revised NHL playoffs, according to TSN. And the news that the rest of the NHL season will be played exclusively on Canadian soil comes perfectly timed on our country’s 153rd birthday.
So yes, hockey’s coming back. Best Canada Day gift EVER.
Hockey fans have Canada’s relatively low COVID-19 case numbers to thank for the NHL’s return north of the border. Las Vegas, long considered a front-runner for its hotel infrastructure and amenities, fell out of the running this week after cases spiked in the region and across the U.S. Other cities under consideration included Los Angeles and Chicago.
WATCH: Canucks say Vancouver won’t be hub city. Story continues below.
The NHL suspended the 2019-20 season in March at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in North America. As restrictions ease, testing has recently ramped up in the league.
Since the beginning of June, when the NHL resumed some limited on- and off-ice workouts and activities, 26 players in the league have tested positive for COVID-19 out of nearly 1,500 tests conducted.
TSN noted that unforeseen circumstances could still derail the plan, but Edmonton and Toronto are likely to be named the hubs.
Barring any last-minute complications, and we have seen some of those (Vancouver and Las Vegas), the two NHL Hub cities will be Edmonton and Toronto. 🇨🇦— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) July 1, 2020
There have been 729 active cases of COVID-19 reported in Toronto and 246 in Edmonton as of June 30.
Toronto is primed to host an event of this scale, having previously hosted the 2016 World Cup of Hockey and various junior hockey tournaments.
No word on if Alberta Premier Jason Kenney’s Edmonton promotional video — which actually didn’t feature the city at all — factored into the NHL’s decision making ....