BC Health Minister Adrian Dix was emphatic when speaking about Vancouver’s bid to be an NHL hub city today.
Asked by a reporter about the reported “breakdown” in talks between the NHL and the BC government, Dix was unapologetic about the rules his province has in place.
“There’s no breakdown,” said Dix. “Vancouver, and anybody who’s paying any attention at all knows this, is the best possible place for them to come because we enforce public health rules in British Columbia thoroughly and completely. This is the reason to come.”
Vancouver looked like a frontrunner to be picked by the NHL as one of its two hub cities, likely in addition to Las Vegas, as late as Tuesday. But talks hit a “snag,” according to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, with the NHL now likely to turn to Edmonton or Toronto instead.
At issue is reportedly some of BC’s strict health rules, which have been enormously successful compared to every other city in North America. If a player tests positive while in the “bubble,” there needs to be protocol, and the NHL doesn’t appear to be thrilled about BC’s rules.
“I love the NHL, I love the idea of hockey coming here, but I’m also the Minister of Health, and the players, and the fans, and those working in the arena, and everyone in British Columbia expect the rules to apply to everybody. And that’s our advantage in this. It’s not our disadvantage,” added Dix.
“The NHL will make its own decisions and they’re very intelligent people and they’ll have their own considerations, and considerations that might make Las Vegas or somewhere else a better location than Vancouver.
“But frankly, if you’re talking about the health of the players, if you’re talking about the health of society, if you’re talking about public health measures, if you’re talking about an outstanding leader on public health, if you’re talking about a committed and outstanding leader in John Horgan, this is the place to come, and I hope they come.
“We’ve made our pitch, our case, at three o’clock every day, which is that public health counts number one in BC. And that matters for the NHL, and it should matter for everybody else.”