With the province’s re-opening plan being the hot topic of discussion as of late, there has been one lingering question on the minds of many hockey fans:
When is hockey coming back, and where and how are NHL teams going to play it?
Premier John Horgan released a few details on the subject Wednesday, as well as a very exciting potential plan for British Columbia.
While Vancouver has been floated as a potential hub city for not only the Canucks, but seven other Pacific Division teams, Horgan revealed an even greater possibility; all 31 National Hockey League teams playing the remainder of the season entirely in B.C.
Horgan met with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly on Tuesday, along with the Minister of Tourism, Arts, and Culture Lisa Beare, where the Premier had a “wide ranging discussion about our desire in British Columbia to support the NHL and the Vancouver Canucks”.
“I believe we’re in a good place to host, that’s why I contacted the commissioner,” said Horgan in his press conference on Wednesday.
“The Canucks have been working very cooperatively with my minister. We’ve heard from others around the league that have other ideas about perhaps having all of the games played in British Columbia.”
The premier went on to acknowledge the idea of a Pacific Division hub city, but also suggested the province could host all games in the NHL.
“We have WHL rinks in Victoria, in Kamloops, in Kelowna, in Prince George… Cranbrook has an outstanding facility as well. We have hotel space,” Horgan said.
That’s right, our very own Victoria is on the table as a potential host.
Despite this, even if Vancouver (or Victoria) were to become a hub city for the league, fans would not be allowed to watch games live in person, and teams would be playing in empty arenas.
The NHL officially suspended their season on March 12th due to COVID-19 concerns, along with the NBA.
“Mr. Bettman and his team recognize that British Columbia has had a pretty positive response to COVID-19 in terms of flattening the curve,” added the premier.
“Mr. Bettman also knows that this is a hockey-crazy province. We’d be happy to have hockey take place here so that we could see current games on our televisions.”
Happy, indeed, Premier Horgan.. but for now, we wait with bated breath and unworn jerseys.