Las Vegas was considered the frontrunner by the NHL as a site of one of their “hub cities,” but that is no longer the case. According to league sources, the NHL is now focusing on a pair of Canadian cities to host the NHL playoffs this season.
The NHL has yet to announce the two hub cities as they are waiting for an official vote from the players that is expected to take place this week. The NHL has narrowed their search to Toronto and Edmonton, and the players are expected to approve this plan later next week.
There were more than a dozen cities that applied to be a hub city for the NHL Playoffs, and the league has spent weeks looking into each option. Las Vegas was considered a front runner since the beginning of the process, but it has since been eliminated.
The NHL was hoping to name one city from the United States and one city from Canada as a hub city, but they have determined that choosing two Canadian cities as their best option. The league will be saving a ton of money by choosing two Canadian cities, and there are plenty of reasons that cities in the US have been eliminated.
Canada and the United States have strict travel restrictions in place, but Canada Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is willing to lift these restrictions for the NHL. The league has submitted a proposal to Trudeau, and his office has been willing to lift any restrictions.
Toronto and Edmonton will be announced as the two hub cities as long as the players approve the NHL’s return-to-play plan. Players will be voting this week, and they are expected to approve the plan and the selection of the two Canadian cities as the host sites for the remainder of the season.
Nevada Sees Huge Spike in COVID-19 Cases
Las Vegas was expected to be named a hub city for the NHL, but recent events eliminated the city from contention. Las Vegas has transformed into a terrific NHL city that supports the Golden Knights, and they have the hotel space to accommodate the NHL.
The problem is that Las Vegas has reopened its casinos in the last few weeks, and the area has seen a huge spike in positive cases of the coronavirus. Las Vegas has reported more than 600 new cases of COVID-19 each day over the past week, and those numbers have scared league executives from the NHL.
NHL Still Facing Uphill Battle
The NHL is still facing many challenges before they are able to resume their 2019-20 season. Even if the players agree to the plan that is presented to them, the league is still working with local and state health departments to create a return-to-play plan.
Players have already started training at their team facilities, but testing has been in place for more than a month. Some players and team personnel have tested positive for COVID-19, and this could delay the resumption of the season.
Most sportsbooks, including FanDuel Sportsbook, have put their NHL future betting odds back on the table, but they can always cancel these bets at any time. With each positive test of COVID-19, the league faces the uncertainty of finishing the season.
Players are expected to approve a return-to-play plan later next week, but a sudden surge in positive cases of COVID-19 could derail everything. Players will be ready to resume games in August, but several positive cases could shut everything down for the second time.