The National Hockey League's planned return to play has undergone a great many changes over the weeks and months that is has been discussed and negotiated between the league itself and the National Hockey League Players Association, but we may finally have reached a conclusion on one of the most key details of the entire plan.
On Monday morning TSN NHL insider Bob McKenzie revealed that an announcement regarding where the plan will actually take place, or more specifically which 2 cities will be chosen as the NHL's "hub" cities, could come as early today while also announcing that 2 teams had no emerged as the frontrunners. Those 2 frontrunners would appear to be Las Vegas, a city that has always been at the top of the list in spite the rising number of COVID-19 cases there, and Toronto, the media capital of Canada and of course one of the NHL's biggest markets.
In the ongoing saga of NHL Hub cities, we may get a formal announcement from the NHL/NHLPA as early as today. If not today, then tomorrow. Stop me if you’ve heard that before. But, for now anyway, that’s where things are at. 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.
There has been some speculation that both Hub cities could end up in Canada where the number of cases has been lower, however the NHL has appeared dead set on Las Vegas since the very beginning. McKenzie speculates that Las Vegas may remain a frontrunner despite the number of cases there due to them having the best plan to completely isolate the players from the general public, bubble that would act as a safety net effectively.
The NHL's top insider reports that negotiations are still ongoing at that the start date of Phase 3 could be bumped back from July 10th to July 13th, but expects that Phase 4, the actual games, will remain on schedule even if that delay does occur.