With the NHL expected to make a decision on the hub cities for the league’s return, the home of the Toronto Maple Leafs should still be near the top of the list.
After a recent spike of COVID-19 cases among NHL players including Toronto Maple Leafs centre Auston Matthews, according to a report, there is still some doubt about whether we see hockey again this season.
As of now, it looks like the league will push on and when it comes to choosing a hub city, Toronto’s name continues to be in the conversation. The Canadian Press reported that the Canadian Federal Government approached three cities as potential hosts including Toronto.
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It makes a lot of sense considering Toronto along with Vancouver and Edmonton have a lot to offer the NHL as host cities. In Vancouver and Edmonton’s case, they have great facilities and a more controlled environment when it comes to COVID-19 cases.
While Toronto is still dealing with a bigger number of cases, it isn’t to the same degree as to what the United States is dealing with right now. Also, with the NHL looking to have Las Vegas as one of the host cities, it makes sense to have the other city in the Eastern time zone.
A big hurdle right now is trying to overcome the mandatory 14-day quarantine for travellers into Canada. It looks like the government will allow NHL players to be exempt according to the latest reports.
The reason why Toronto makes the most sense as a hub city is because of the familiarity the NHL has given the events it has had in the past. The league would know the ideal locations for players and know that Toronto has the ideal number of facilities needed to have 12 teams in the city at one time.
Not only that, but the Toronto city hall will push for the city to be a host as well considering the impact it could have on the local economy.
"“I think it will be great for the psychology for the city,” Toronto mayor John Tory told reporters. “There will be some business for hotels, because there are multiple teams and staff members and others coming.“There’s lots of benefits; not as great as if you could have tens of thousands of fans come in, but we’ll take the hub-city designation if the NHL chooses. We can create a totally safe, totally welcoming, certainly hockey-focused environment. The main objective will be to keep everyone; players, staff and the people of Toronto, safe. I believe we can do that and put on a great show.”"
Of course, none of this will happen if the Ontario government doesn’t push Toronto into the next stages of re-opening. Alberta and B.C. are obviously further along which means that they currently have the upper hand over Toronto in a bid.
You get the sense however that the NHL not naming its hub cities is a strong indication that they are waiting for more information and having Canada as an option. With that being said, it’s tough to not see Toronto getting some high consideration and it won’t be long until we find out.
Do you think Toronto will be a hub city for the NHL? Where else do you want to see games? Let us know in the comments below.