The National Hockey League has been looking for a pair of “hub” cities to host the remainder of the 2019-20 season. Sources have indicated that Las Vegas will be chosen as one of the cities, but the league was also hoping to include a city in Canada.
The coronavirus pandemic has affected travel between the United States and Canada, and that was forcing a delay in the league announcing their second hub city. Reports earlier this week indicated that Canada could indeed be a host city, and travel restrictions would be lifted for NHL players and team personnel.
Earlier this month, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that the country was open to being chosen as a hub city for the NHL. This announcement came as a shock to the league as Canada has imposed strict travel restrictions on residents of other countries.
Trudeau did announce that local health authorities would have to sign off on any plans from the NHL, and anyone visiting the company would be forced to self-quarantine for a number of days. The league was already planning a self-quarantine plan for the traveling party of each NHL team, allowing them to give Canada a hub city.
The NHL has already announced that they will not choose a Canadian city if a mandatory 14-day quarantine is in place for any visitors to the country. Trudeau is willing to loosen the restrictions for NHL players, but there will still be a quarantine put in place for anyone traveling into the country.
Earlier this week, lawmakers in Canada approved a plan put in place by the NHL that would allow the league to use the country as a hub city. The league has yet to announce which city will be used, but lawmakers are hoping to bring hockey back to Canada.
Canadian health officials were a part of this discussion, and they agreed to allow NHL players to return to Canada. Toronto, Vancouver, and Edmonton have all been considered as hub cities when the league resumes play, and the NHL is likely to choose one of these three cities.
NHL players have already started to return to their home markets and have started individual training camps. The league has yet to approve the start of full training camps, although that announcement is expected to come in early July.
Las Vegas has reportedly already been chosen as one of the hub cities that the NHL is looking at, but the league has yet to make an official announcement.
Face Shields Won’t Be Required
NHL sources have indicated that the league will not require players to wear full face shields when participating in games, which was previously reported. Equipment has been a major point of discussion between the league and the NHL Players Association, and it appears that they have reached an agreement.
The National Hockey League is expected to test players each day for the coronavirus, and therefore, full face shields will not be required on the ice. The league isn’t expected to name any new equipment changes when hockey resumes later this summer.
Hockey manufacturer Bauer has already begun producing new hockey equipment that will be used when the league resumes play. Even if the players are not required to wear any face masks, coaches and other game-day personnel are likely to be forced to.
Bauer has been looking into detachable visors that can be worn by coaches and team personnel on the bench. The company will also be producing a new type of helmet that can be worn by players if they want added protection against COVID-19.