VICTORIA (NEWS 1130) — B.C. is ready to assist the NHL as a hub, potentially hosting all of the games at sites throughout the province should play resume this season.
Premier John Horgan talked with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman on Tuesday, along with the league’s deputy commissioner, Bill Daly, and B.C. Tourism Minister Lisa Beare.
“We had a wide-ranging discussion about our desire in British Columbia to support the NHL and the Vancouver Canucks, who have been initiating these discussions with governments to see if we could put in place a framework where the NHL could either use Vancouver as a hub city,” Horgan said on the day B.C. extended its state of emergency another two weeks and until the foreseeable future.
“We’ve heard from others around the league that have other ideas about, perhaps, having all of the games played in British Columbia,” Horgan said.
“We have WHL rinks in Victoria, in Kamloops, in Kelowna and Prince George. Cranbrook has an outstanding facility, as well. We have hotel space,” he added.
“So the sky is really the limit. I wanted to let the commissioner know that British Columbia stands ready to assist in looking at a plan, brought forward by the players in the NHL. And if we can make it work, I think that’d be great for B.C., and it would be great for the NHL.”
"We've heard from others around the NHL that have other ideas about perhaps having all of the games played in British Columbia," says @jjhorgan following his meeting with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman as BC flattens the curve. What do you think? Details on @NEWS1130.
— Sonia Aslam (@SoniaSAslam) May 13, 2020
Horgan said he contacted the commissionered, initially.
“Mr. Bettman and his team recognize that British Columbia has had a pretty positive response to COVID-19 and in terms of flattening the curve. Mr. Bettman also knows that this is a hockey-crazy province would be happy to have hockey take place here so that we can see current games on our televisions.”
But obstacles remain, he said, noting a 14-day isolation period would be required.
“Where we are in two weeks, three weeks, four weeks is up to Dr. [Bonnie] Henry and how she feels we’re doing at managing the curve as we restart the economy,” Horgan said.
“But Mr. Bettman was well aware of that, as are the NHL Players Association representatives, who are focused on making sure that players are safe and, of course, the NHL is concerned about players and the communities that they operate in.”
The NHL suspended its regular season over coronavirus concerns in March.