Mayor Don Iveson supports premier's bid to bring NHL games to Edmonton

May 20 2020, 11:16 pm

Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson has pledged his support for bringing NHL games to the city this summer.

Premier Jason Kenney penned a letter to NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman on Wednesday, making the case to bring games to Alberta to carry out the remainder of the 2019-20 season.

“I think we’ve got a tremendous pitch to make,” said Kenney, who added that his province has been a “star performer in North America on the public health response to the pandemic.”

Kenney said he plans to speak with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman this week.

Mayor Don Iveson also tweeted out his support for Edmonton to be a hub city for the NHL this summer.

“As Edmonton’s number one priority is the health and safety of its residents, we recognize that the NHL has placed health and safety as a top priority for the return of the hockey season,” said Iveson in the letter.

“OEG and the City of Edmonton are exploring a bid because we view Edmonton, with its colourful hockey history, as an ideal location to host the balance of the NHL’s 2019-20 season. In the North American context, Edmonton and the surrounding region have experienced low COVID-19 infection numbers and are taking prudent steps to begin a cautious and safe reopening.”

The NHL is reportedly considering eight or nine cities to host games this summer, with two to four expected to be chosen. Edmonton, Vancouver, Toronto, Las Vegas, and St. Paul, Minnesota, are among the cities being considered, according to The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun.

British Columbia’s Premier John Horgan has also given an enthusiastic response to the potential for games to be hosted in Vancouver, writing a letter of his own to Gary Bettman earlier this month.

Iveson’s pitch adds that resuming games in Edmonton would bring hockey back to one of Canada’s great hockey cities.

“The City of Edmonton continues to work alongside the provincial government and its Medical Officers of Health to take all precautions necessary to ensure that our city is safe for its residents as well as workers in any industry, including high-performing athletes and their support staff,” said Iveson.

He also noted the location of Rogers Place as an added benefit, given that it is located in the downtown core.

“As long as the continuation of the NHL’s 2019-20 season can be executed safely and while fulfilling public health regulations, on behalf of the City of Edmonton, I offer my wholehearted support for the Edmonton Oilers’ proposal to host your most valuable asset, your players, in our city.”

At this point, Bettman’s inbox is likely filled with letters from all over the country, but the first question we need answered is: when is hockey coming back?

Regardless of where games will be, hockey fans across the continent are eagerly waiting to hear the answer.

With files from Rob Williams

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