The GIST: Remember when we thought the NHL would announce their bubble cities by June 22nd? Oh, how young and naive we were.
What’s taking so long?: In the NHL’s defense, they’re playing it safe. They’ve been slowly narrowing the list of potential hub cities for their return-to-play plan (which started with roughly 10 potential candidates), all while keeping tabs on COVID-19 cases.
- There were reports that Las Vegas was definitely going to be one of two cities, but instead of rushing an announcement, the NHL stalled to see if COVID-19 cases in the state would stabilize...but they didn’t. Nevada now has one of the highest rates of COVID-19 in the US, and Las Vegas has been cut from the list.
Who’s still in the running?: Thanks to a government that seems to know what it’s doing, Canada has some relatively low (and decreasing!) COVID-19 numbers. That’s why we’ll likely see Toronto and Edmonton picked as the bubble cities very soon, with the season start date announced after that.
- The Eastern Conference teams will likely be housed in Toronto, while the Western Conference will play in Edmonton. And having the entire event take place in Canada means no pesky border crossing and 14-day quarantine when the East and West champs meet (probably in Edmonton) for the Stanley Cup Finals.