VICTORIA (NEWS 1130) — Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has approved a plan for Vancouver to be a possible NHL hub city, according to the premier.
The province has also passed an order protecting amateur sport organizations and volunteers from litigation from insurers, allowing play to resume within days.
John Horgan said Wednesday that Henry has agreed to a modification of the quarantine plan that would allow an NHL team to be a family entity, or a ‘bubble.’
More from @jjhorgan
*Modification to the quarantine plan allowing a team to remain in a bubble
*Teams stay in one hotel
*Would travel to the arena in private transportation
*Testing is responsibility of the club
*No interaction w/public for 14-day quarantine period
— Sonia Aslam (@SoniaSAslam) June 10, 2020
“The Vancouver Canucks’ proposal for an NHL hub city has been approved by the public health officer, Dr. Henry, and our governments,” Horgan said. “As a result, I’ve written to the prime minister advising him that Vancouver and British Columbia would welcome the NHL, as per the plan that was put together by the Vancouver Canucks the NHL and, of course, public health officials.”
He added individuals within a team would stay together in one hotel and would travel to Rogers Arena in Vancouver together in private transportation.
“Any testing would be the responsibility of the club. No interaction with the public would take place for the 14-day quarantine period,” Horgan said.
“So it is an amendment to the quarantine. It’s not changing it in any meaningful way. It’s only expanding the number of people within the bubble that would allow for NHL teams to come to Vancouver.”
Any modifications to the quarantine rules in B.C. would have to be approved by the federal government.
Horgan also said Tourism Vancouver participated in this process with the Canucks as there could be a significant benefit to hotels, food and other services should the city be selected as a hub to host games as part of an extended regular season, as well as playoffs.
“That’s an exciting thing for hockey fans. I’m going to be on my couch watching the games regardless whether they’re in Vegas or Vancouver, but I really believe that British Columbia has a great deal to offer the NHL, particularly the players. If you were bringing your family to soar in North America for the summer months to spend time while you played hockey I can’t think of a better place than British Columbia,” Horgan said.
Vancouver was short-listed for one of two NHL hub cities last month as commissioner Gary Bettman outlined a four-phase plan that will see games resume in the summer.
“So, I believe that the NHL has to make the call now. There was concern that we were allegedly not responding rapidly enough to this question of quarantine,” Horgan added.
He reiterated the province is still not prepared to put at risk the progress British Columbians have made to limit the transmission of COVID-19.
Horgan also said a strategy is being put in place to assist the film and TV industry reopen in B.C.
“It would still involve 14-day isolation periods for any talent that was coming from the United States or elsewhere, whether they be producers, directors or front-of-camera personnel,” he said. “But the vast array of professionals that we have here in British Columbia that make Vancouver and B.C. an ideal destination for film and television are here and ready to go and they’ll be doing so in a way that protects public health, and the interests of those individuals who work in that sector.”
Regarding amatuer sports, Horgan said organizations and volunteers have not been able to obtain insurance from companies during the pandemic.
“So the government has passed an order protecting all of these associations and their volunteers from any litigation,” he added. “As a result of COVID-19, of course, all of these organizations will have to follow public health directions, and I know they all will. They’re very anxious to do so. Various sectors have already approved their back-to-play plans and I know that minor soccer, for example, should be up and running as of June, 12.”
The record-long B.C. state of emergency has also been extended to June 24. It’s been 12 weeks since it was first declared.