If no exemptions are made to Canada’s 14-day quarantine rule, it won’t just prevent the NHL from choosing a hub city north of the border; it may also prevent the Canucks from holding their training camp in Vancouver.
The NHL is expected to begin Phase 2 of its return-to-play plan by early June, allowing voluntary workouts at team facilities. The league is hoping to start formal training camps by July in each team’s home city, prior to convening at two hub cities for a 24-team tournament to decide the Stanley Cup.
But if exemptions aren’t made to the mandatory 14-day quarantine rule, it could pose problems for Canada’s seven NHL teams. In the case of the Vancouver Canucks, it would interrupt the training schedules for the likes of Elias Pettersson and Jacob Markstrom, who returned to Sweden, as well as Brock Boeser, who is currently in Minnesota.
- See also:
In order to avoid having to quarantine many of their players for 14 days, GM Jim Benning said on a conference call on Wednesday that the Vancouver Canucks are considering holding training camp in the United States.
“It’s a big concern for us,” Benning said regarding the 14-day quarantine rule. “I talked to Travis [Green] about it last night. We’ve talked about it again this morning. We worry about it because that’s 14 days before we’re going to start a grueling training camp and get into playing playoff-style games. Basically, we’re telling our players they’ve got to sit around their homes or apartments and they can’t do the kind of training that they need to get ready for an NHL training camp.
“I know the government officials are looking at it. We don’t like it, but we understand that we need to do what’s right everybody involved for the safety of people, and so that’s going to trump everything else.”
Playing in the United States could cause issues for Canucks captain Bo Horvat, as his wife is due to give birth to their first child this summer in Ontario.
It remains to be seen whether the federal government will make an exception for the NHL. While the optics of providing different rules to millionaire athletes wouldn’t be great, NHL players would be tested frequently, as it’s in the league’s best interest to keep everyone healthy.
“We’ve talked about [holding training camp in the United States]… It’s something that we’re thinking about but we just want to give it a few more days to see if something is going to change. The perfect scenario, we’d like to use our facilities [in Vancouver]. We’re probably going to have 30-32 [players] here. We have great facilities for our players [at Rogers Arena] so we would like to do that first and foremost, but we’ve talked about moving it off-site too.”
“We’re just going to have to make the best of everything that’s going on and figure out a way through it and prepare the best we can, and go from there.”