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Canadian premier confirms that NHL has reached out to schedule games in province

How soon until we see Hockey Night in Canada again?

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The NHL has stepped away from tentative plan to use non-NHL rinks in “neutral sites” for the resumption of the 2019-20 season, according to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman and ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski.

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Further to that Wyshynski also reports that the league is pushing forward with a plan that would see two to four NHL arenas host games to enable the remainder of the regular season and Playoffs. 

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Now that’s interesting…  so who would host these games? Most Canadian markets have done an excellent job of flattening the curve and limiting the outbreak. In fact, in all of Manitoba there are only six confirmed COVID-19 deaths. Would the Winnipeg Jets make a good host? You have to imagine that Toronto is being considered, Montreal and in fact all of Quebec has been hit hard by the virus though. Vancouver is well situated for Western Conference teams, but Edmonton and Calgary have to both be in consideration, as well.

Two teams that have confirmed to be in discussions with the NHL though are the Arizona Coyotes and Minnesota Wild.

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Interesting…

Again, both locations are fairly central and have the infrastructure to support an influx of players and staff. 

Alberta premier Jason Kenney confirmed that NHL commissioner Gary Bettman has reached out to him to discuss the potential of scheduling games in the province.

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ESPN’s Emily Kaplan confirmed that indeed Edmonton is in consideration, along with Raleigh and Minnesota.

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Another consideration: Buffalo. The Sabres’ home arena, KeyBank Center, is attached to a building that houses two additional ice rinks, a Marriott hotel and a world class gym and training facility. In effect, the players would never need to leave the premises. 

Stay tuned, hockey fans. More to come on this story.