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EXTENDED CLOSURE OF CANADA-U.S. BORDER SHOULD NOT IMPACT NHL'S PLANS TO RESUME SEASON

There was some nervousness among hockey fans Monday when it was announced that the closure of the Canada-U.S. border to non-essential travel would be extended until June 21st after an agreement between the two countries. Even NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly expressed concern, saying hewas hopeful the extended closure "will not materially affect the resumption of play timelines we are currently contemplating." It appears his wish has been granted.

According to TSN's Frank Seravalli, "Healthy people may continue to cross the border for “non-discretionary” reasons – for work and employment purposes - and NHL players and team personnel fall into that category."

He also notes that most non-Canadian players playing on Canadian teams hold a work permit that would qualify them as a temporary worker and allow them to cross the border during the pandemic.

There are still many factors up in the air as the NHL continues to plan for its eventual return either in June or July. The latest discussion has the league holding a 24-team playoff that would include a first-round playdown for teams on the wild card bubble. Games are likely to be held in "hub cities" and almost certainly without fans in attendance.



Hockey is in somewhat of a unique situation when it comes to the big professional leagues as it is the only one with a large mix of Canadian and American teams. MLB and the NBA have just one Canadian team each, both located in Toronto, while the NFL has no Canadian-based teams. It should be noted that, according to Canada's current rules, anyone crossing the border into the country has to quarantine for at least 14 days and it appears that rule will be in place for NHL players and staff.


TIM TUCKER
MAY 19, 2020  (17H53)
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