VICTORIA (NEWS 1130) — B.C. is still in the game to be an NHL hub, but the focus has changed to just rinks in the Lower Mainland, according to Premier John Horgan.
Last week, Horgan spoke with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and floated the idea of B.C. as a hub, potentially hosting all of the games at sites throughout the province should play resume this season. He suggested utilizing arenas in Victoria, Kamloops, Kelowna, Prince George, and Cranbrook, in addition to Vancouver.
During a general briefing Wednesday, Horgan said he still thinks B.C. is a potential hub site.
“Well, I would think we are.”
However, it was mentioned to Horgan the NHL criteria for resumption of play calls for one main arena, one main practice facility, and two downtown hotels, all to support physical distancing guidelines.
“I opened up the idea of using Western Hockey League rinks across the province because we do have a rich hockey tradition in every corner of British Columbia, and really superior rinks in places like Kelowna and AHL ranked in Abbotsford, as well as all of the infrastructure that’s in the Lower Mainland,” Horgan said.
But he acknowledged the NHL’s now preferred position on the one hub city.
“Vancouver, again, has the main arena that the Canucks play in. I’ve also got the [Pacific] Coliseum, which with a little bit of spit and polish could be brought back to an NHL standard, I believe, and we also have Langley, and we have Abbotsford, as I say, that could be refurbished, if need be.”
Re: @nhl using #BC as a hub, @jjhorgan says he’s hopeful it can work.
Re: why he’s not wearing a mask, Premier says he will if physical distancing is a problem.
He’s speaking in #Victoria right now with no one else standing close to him. #COVID19 #bcpoli #cdnpoli @NEWS1130
— Marcella Bernardo (@Bernardo1130) May 20, 2020
Horgan also said Vancouver is well placed in terms of hotel capacity.
“What I’ve heard from those who represent the players, the view is that if you have to spend a couple of months in one place, Vancouver would be the place to do it. And that’s not belittling any other NHL cities in North America, but I have a bias to Vancouver.”
Horgan added the Vancouver Canucks are 100 per cent behind the getting hub concept and underway.
“I opened up another couple of alternatives for the NHL to consider. I’m hopeful that they just consider British Columbia at the end of the day.”