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A NEW FRONTRUNNER EMERGES FOR SECOND HUB CITY

With Vancouver officially out of the running to be a hub city for the eventual return of hockey this summer, a new city has emerged as a frontrunner. According to TSN's Bob McKenzie, the most likely spot for the second hub city is now Toronto.

"In the ongoing saga of NHL Hub cities, we may get a formal announcement from the NHL/NHLPA as early as today (Monday). If not today, then tomorrow. Stop me if you’ve heard that before. But, for now anyway, that’s where things are at," McKenzie posted to Twitter.

"Las Vegas and Toronto appear to remain frontrunners, but that comes with the obligatory caution: A week ago today, Las Vegas and Vancouver were the frontrunners and Vancouver, of course, is no longer involved in the process. Until an announcement is formal, it’s a fluid process."



Vancouver withdrew its bid when an agreement between the league and local health officials could not be reached on what would happen when a player or players tested positive for COVID-19 once action gets underway. The NHL has stated it does not feel positive tests should derail the Return to Play plan.

Meanwhile, it may be considered surprising that Vegas remains one of the frontrunners for a hub city. The state of Nevada has seen steady increases in positive tests for COVID-19 since June 15th and currently has a total of more than 17,000 confirmed cases and 500 deaths. The largest recent increase in cases in Nevada came on June 25th when 1100 people tested positive in a 24 hour period. That was up from 380 cases the day before.

"NHL/NHLPA did more due diligence on sites over weekend," said McKenzie. "If Vegas is formally chosen, I believe it’s due in large part to Vegas bid being the best “locked down” or “protected” bubble of the six remaining candidates."

"No one is suggesting negotiations between NHL and NHLPA on protocols/terms for Phase 3 (training camp), Phase 4 (actual games in Hubs) and a CBA extension are complete by any means, but they have done a lot of heavy lifting and are getting closer."



TIM TUCKER
JUNE 29, 2020  (9H37)
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