Vancouver makes Bold Moves for NHL 2020 Playoffs host city slot

Written By Neil McKenzie-Sutter, Posted on June 14, 2020

It is conceivable that the Stanley Cup final this year could be held in Vancouver for the first time since 2011, although this situation might not feature a Canadian team playing.

If that sounds odd, it’s alright because this upcoming 2020 NHL playoff season is going to be unique. 

Due to COVID-19, the NHL has decided once their requirements have been met and hockey is finally allowed to start, every game of the 2020 playoffs will be held in 2 host cities. 

The NHL hasn’t given a date for their decision on the host cities and also hasn’t released a date when play will resume, either, although currently the league is in ‘Phase 3’ of restarting play, and ‘Phase 4’ is when the playoffs start.

At this point, many things are up in the air. The NHL is basing their reopening schedule on how effectively COVID-19 can be combatted in North America overall. So logically the league is factoring how effectively potential host cities fight the pandemic, and the shortlist is as follows: 

Canadian Cities: 

  • Edmonton

  • Toronto

  • Vancouver

U.S. Cities:

  • Chicago

  • Columbus 

  • Dallas

  • Las Vegas

  • Los Angeles 

  • Minneapolis 

  • Pittsburgh 

Some rumours are circulating that Las Vegas has already been chosen as the first host city

These are unconfirmed, but if you were a gambler, Vegas would be a decent bet: the Golden Knights have a brand new facility, and Nevada has been fast adopting regulations to make it an appealing state to host competitive sports in during the pandemic.

Vegas may not be a host city despite the rumours, but it is likely at least one of the host cities will be American. 

And if it’s one, why not both? Among other reasons, the NHL may be considering making both host cities American due to travel restrictions between the U.S. and Canada, so Canada is going to have to come up with ways to incentivize the NHL. 

Vancouver seems to be already making some bold moves to quell any problems the league may have, as the B.C. Premier and B.C. Public Health officials recently agreed to a plan that would exempt NHL players and limited support staff from regular travel restrictions currently in place. B.C. has also been successful at ‘flattening the curve.’ 

Some parts of the plan remain vague, but the idea is all 12 teams in Vancouver will remain isolated from the population of the city for the required two weeks after arriving there while being allowed to participate in the playoffs with the other teams, all also in isolation. 

Even if Vegas or another Western Conference team is selected first, that might not affect Vancouver’s chances of getting the second slot. Given the fact there are only three Eastern Conference teams on the potential host cities list, it seems like the league is solely focused on what the individual city can offer.

Vancouver’s chances of getting tapped as a host city are strong, but it’s not too late for Edmonton to get in gear. 

Edmonton has some of the lowest COVID-19 numbers on the continent, and similarly to the Golden Knights, the Oilers have a brand new arena. For these reasons, if Edmonton were to adopt similar regulations to Vancouver, it could be a strong contender. 

If Canadians want a host city, we’re going to have to earn it; even Vancouver isn’t clinched. So if you live in or near one of these cities, contact your city councillor, the Premier of your province, and get in touch with the NHL on social media. 

Canada: we have to get our act together and make this happen because I don’t think I can take the whining if we don’t. You know I’m right, and there will be complaints for the next 50 years if we don’t get a host city in Canada.


Neil McKenzie-Sutter

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