And then there were six.
As the NHL gets closer to picking two hub cities for the resumption of play, their shortlist is getting shorter.
The Pittsburgh Penguins announced today that they were informed by the NHL on Monday night that they would not be a hub city.
The @NHL has informed the Penguins that Pittsburgh will not be a hub city for the league’s Return to Play plan.
The Penguins submitted an aggressive proposal, with tremendous support from UPMC, PPG, and local business/political/union leaders.
— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) June 23, 2020
Dallas, Columbus, and St. Paul, Minnesota are also reportedly out of the running, leaving six cities left from the NHL’s original list of 10 cities. Three Canadian cities are still in the running, including Vancouver, Edmonton, and Toronto, as well as US cities Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and Chicago.
Penguins announce and Dallas confirms that they are out as potential hub cities for the NHL…
Edmonton, Vancouver, Toronto, Chicago, LA and Las Vegas are left.
League hoping to announce hubs by weeks end.
— John Shannon (@JShannonhl) June 23, 2020
For weeks, Vegas was widely believed to be a frontrunner due to its hotel infrastructure and low case counts in Nevada. Nevada’s coronavirus numbers are up recently though, with a record-high 462 new cases reported today.
That’s more than double Ontario’s reported increase of 216 cases today. Toronto is also the only Eastern Conference location remaining, which would be helpful for time zone considerations for airing games on television.
In terms of health, no city can match Vancouver’s current situation, as British Columbia reported just 32 new cases in a three-day span. BC’s current number of active cases sits at 182, which is well lower than Alberta (542), of which 236 are found in Edmonton.
With training camps set to begin in 17 days in each team’s home city, expect a hub city announcement soon. It’s been exactly four weeks since Commissioner Gary Bettman said hub cities would likely be selected in three to four weeks.