The NHL smartly waited to name its host cities for its restart plan, likely waiting to see how the coronavirus spread through the continent prior to ironing out any firm plans, and now will pivot to a pair of Canadian cities for its East and West bubbles, according to multiple reports.
Edmonton and Toronto will host the NHL this summer, with Bob McKenzie of TSN initially reporting that the two Canadian cities will be the two hubs for the league’s return “barring any last-minute complications.” There were other possibilities, including Las Vegas once being the frontrunner in the West, but with cases on the rise across the United States, the NHL has chosen to play in a country where it has historically had a major presence — and the one that has handled the pandemic better by comparison.
McKenzie also noted final details could be voted upon as soon as this weekend.
Nothing carved in stone just yet, but if there are no hiccups in finalizing the tentative agreement, NHLPA membership could be voting on RTP/CBA/transition/critical dates by Friday or Saturday.
— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) July 1, 2020
The NHL took a more deliberate approach throughout its return plan process, and now will benefit from less outside danger than the NBA or MLS, both currently headed to Orlando which has seen a major outbreak recently, when it gets back on the ice. Part of what the NHL must soon agree upon is when Phases 3 and 4 of its plan will take place, and what pay and transaction rules will look like during the irregular season.
While MLB plans to launch its players around the country this summer and fall and the NFL tinkers with its typical schedule, the NHL appears to have been wise with a more patient approach.