VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — B.C. could match part of Alberta’s proposal to be an NHL hub city, according to the provincial health officer.
But Dr. Bonnie Henry said she still hasn’t seen a plan from the league.
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney sent a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau earlier this week, requesting coronavirus quarantine controls be relaxed to assist Edmonton’s chances of becoming an NHL hub if play resumes.
Vancouver and Edmonton are among 10 cities shortlisted by the NHL to become one of two hub cities.
The league has said it won’t seriously consider a Canadian hub city unless an exception is made to our country’s 14-day quarantine policy.
The Alberta government has sent a proposal to the NHL that would see teams take over three hotels in Edmonton, with a secure passage directly from them to Rogers Place to allow for “cohort quarantine.”
Henry said Thursday she couldn’t comment on Alberta’s proposal, but was open to continuing discussions with the NHL.
“We certainly have been talking about how it could be done safely in British Columbia, as well,” she added.
“And you know, the bottom line is, I have not seen any proposal, and certainly not any written proposal from the NHL of how this could be proposed to work.”
Henry said it’s also difficult to respond to what the league might be thinking.
“But I do see how we could potentially have small numbers of people cohorting getting together and in self-isolation, for example, in a hotel and management monitored regularly. And I know if anybody could do that, then the NHL is probably set up to do it, so I can see how we could have something like that work in British Columbia, as well.”
Sportsnet 650’s James Cybulski said Alberta’s proposal would be a compromise between the quarantine policy and the NHL’s desire to keep players together and get them on the ice as quickly as possible.
“They think the NBA has got the right idea in terms of what they are suggesting, limiting travel, creating one giant kind of college fraternity bubble,” he said.
“The Alberta government is looking at this opportunity as the NHL looking at Edmonton as a hub city to kickstart the economy in the province of Alberta,” Cybulski added.
“The premier of British Columbia has essentially said it would be a blip, from an economic standpoint, if the NHL ultimately looked at Vancouver. So who are you to believe?”
Cybulski said Vancouver checks all the boxes to become a hub city.
“We obviously have the capabilities, with all the hotels. We have the space, the seawall, as well.”
B.C. Premier John Horgan initially pitched the province as an NHL hub. But government and health officials then indicated they won’t seek a relaxation of the self-isolation rules for players.