Please NHL, put us out of our misery and announce the Hub Cities already

Living in Edmonton I feel like I’m in the one city that remotely cares about this Hub City saga. The Premier has hilariously shared videos of the province where all the footage is four hours away from the flat prairie city in which the players would be locked down. The media provides daily updates on the status of the Hub City bid, and there seems to be a resentment towards the league if they choose to go with any location that has been strong in its containment of COVID-19. Perhaps that last point is a valid one, but if you’re putting a bubble around the hockey community, it probably doesn’t matter as much about what city they use along as they are effective in maintaining the bubble.

Long story short, I suspect that everyone outside of Edmonton doesn’t care where they play, and either falls into the camps of

A) Just name the cities and get on with it already.

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B) For the love of God, just cancel it and let’s try for a 2020-21 season when we’re all feeling better about this.

Admittedly, I’ve shifted from B to A over the course of this break, but if you are in one of the many places that are still experiencing a high number of active cases, B still probably seems like the best idea.

Anyway, I think the NHL is over estimating how much anyone cares about what the hub cities are. If Toronto is selected, no one will be attending a game. No one will be interacting with the players. All we will be treated to are jokes about how there will finally be a second round of playoff hockey played in Toronto. And of course, finally the Stanley Cup will be awarded in Toronto (assuming Toronto would be the city for the Finals.)

The NHLPA is probably overestimating how much the location matters. They are in a bubble. They are going to have pretty limited access to what they will be able to do, and while a hotel overlooking Lake Ontario probably has more appeal than a hotel overlooking downtown Edmonton, they are probably going to have the same shortlist of approved recreation.

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That brings us to Bob McKenzie’s tweets from today…



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And of course that lead to this…

So here we are. I certainly recommend looking at the other tweets from Bob McKenzie which fill in some of the blanks on why this delay is happening. There are a number of labour issues that are being resolved while this is going on, there is an afternoon Board of Governors meeting that gives the league one last chance to communicate on what they want, and of course this is also leading to an expected delay in the opening of training camps, going from July 10th to July 13th, at least for the time being.

All the while, the NHL is still dealing with a number of player COVID-19 cases. The NHL should have landed on the hub cities a while ago. For all the cases going on Florida right now, the NBA’s decision to go with Disney World has at least bought them a lengthy window to get their bubble in order. The NHL seems to be wasting time on the unimportant part and will be rushing the execution.

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