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Alberta has approved NHL games in Calgary and Edmonton in Canada, while British Columbia and Manitoba still await the green light.
(Photo : Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Alberta approved the NHL to operate games in the province for the upcoming season.
Alberta became the first province in Canada to permit the hockey league to play games in the arena, after a series of follow-ups by the management to push the All-Canadian extension for 2021.
According to The Canadian Press, Alberta permitted Calgary and Edmonton to be open for the seasonal event. The approval came with protocol reviews because some league changes will happen due to COVID-19.
Moreover, the Manitoba government stated that discussions about NHL’s hosting are still hanging. The Canadian province was included in the letter written by five jurisdictions in Canada. The Manitoba acting deputy chief provincial public health officer Dr. Jazz Atwal confirmed this.
”There is still some paperwork and procedural steps that need to take place but, from a public health perspective, it’s a solid plan. I believe one is that the orders have to change to allow them to play,” Atwal said.
Health Minister of British Columbia, Adrian Dix, remarked that the province was in talks if the NHL resumption could be held there. Dix said that they have not yet finalized the deal in a news conference, but they will soon announce it.
Meanwhile, Ontario and Quebec were unresponsive to comments regarding the NHL’s permission to play games in the said provinces.
The Canadian teams will be playing each other during the regular season and the first two playoff rounds. They will be included in the newly-established North Division because traveling across the U.S. border was not possible due to the COVID-19 threat.
Deputy commissioner Bill Daly declared on December 24 that the league considered Canadian grounds as possible arenas for the regular season. His statement came with a note from Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw, who proposed increased testing to the NHL, or an instance for the league to occupy a safe place in a city like what it accomplished last summer in two Alberta cities.
British Columbia provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry hoped that their recommendations to the league would be responsibly managed, given the safety protocols to minimize the risk of contracting the virus.
”It’s now over to the respective provinces to determine whether the games will happen or not,” Bonnie said.
The 14-day quarantine period for the hockey players and staff who will go to training camps in Canada was issued with an exemption by the federal government on Thursday.
The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) concluded that all Canadian provinces with hockey clubs had supported the plan through a written note.
The seven Canadian teams will now begin the training camps on Sunday or Monday. In last season’s bubble, the Ottawa Senators, one of the Canadian clubs, were not qualified to participate in the post-season last year.
Last 2019-2020 season, only six NHL clubs who vied for the post-season battle along with the Major League Soccer teams Montreal Impact, Toronto FC, and Vancouver Whitecaps had played in the United States.
Before the Canadian soccer teams went to the U.S. for relocation, they played straight games in August and September.
The new season will open on January 13.
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