Wednesday, May 20, 2020 / by Ken Couture
Las Vegas remains in the running to be one of the host cities should the NHL resume its season.
The league trimmed its list to eight or nine potential hosts, and Las Vegas still is being considered, according to a report from TSN.
Edmonton, Vancouver, Toronto and Minnesota also are in the running, TSN reported.
“That’s work that the National Hockey League is doing,” Golden Knights general manager Kelly McCrimmon said last week. “I think across the NHL, I’m not sure what their thoughts on Las Vegas would be, if we’re a candidate to be one of those cities or not. The NHL is taking the lead on that.”
The NHL is considering several return-to-play proposals after boarding up its windows March 12 because of the coronavirus pandemic.
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman previously said one of the plans calls for games to be played in four centralized “hub” cities.
MGM Resorts International acting CEO Bill Hornbuckle confirmed in the company’s first-quarter earnings call April 30 that it reached out to the NHL about hosting games in Las Vegas.
In another possible twist, British Columbia Premier John Horgan said during a news conference this week he contacted Bettman about Vancouver as a hub city in addition to the province hosting a possible 20- or 24-team postseason tournament in several cities.
The league last month ruled out playing at neutral sites such as Grand Forks, North Dakota, or Manchester, New Hampshire.
Currently, the Canada-U.S. border is closed to nonessential travel through Thursday, though that could be extended to June 21.
Players and staff traveling to British Columbia from the U.S. or Europe would have to quarantine for two weeks to comply with the province’s health regulations.
Bettman appeared as a guest in a virtual town hall with members of the San Jose Sharks’ business alliance this week and said ending the season is “not something I’m even contemplating.”
“I believe that if the right time comes, and the right circumstances, based on all of the options that we’re considering and our ability to execute them, we’ll get this season done,” said Bettman, according to the San Jose Mercury News. “I don’t want to sound Pollyanna, but canceling is too easy a solution. That means you stop working hard to do all of the things that we’re doing, and I ultimately believe that there will be an opportunity.”
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