(Vancouver Canucks / Twitter)

When the NHL returns to play this summer, it will not be in Vancouver, according to the Canucks.

The team confirmed the news in a statement released Thursday afternoon, after much deliberation and back and forth with the provincial government.

“We sincerely thank Premier Horgan, Minister Beare, Dr. Bonnie Henry and their teams for their incredible support as we worked through the opportunity to host NHL teams in Vancouver. It has been a collaborative effort form the beginning with the NHL and all parties involved throughout the entire process,” reads the statement by Canucks COO Trent Carroll.

“From the beginning, our goal was to help the NHL get hockey back on the ice if we could. Although Vancouver won’t be a Hub City, we are still excited to see hockey start up again.”

The announcement comes despite Vancouver appearing to be a frontrunner up until recently, largely due to the favourable conditions of the province, including the lowest COVID-19 numbers in the cities shortlisted by the NHL.

In her daily address Thursday afternoon, Bonnie Henry shared some advice she gave for the NHL hub city plan, stating, “Under no circumstances was I going to compromise the health of people”

“What we provided was our advice and basically the fact that we would take the health of the players and the health of our province as the primary concern in terms of having the NHL play in Vancouver,” Dr. Henry said prior to the Canucks announcement.

“I actually think that is a positive for us and that it should have been something that the NHL saw as a positive partnership.”

Hockey fans in BC wouldn’t have been able to attend the games in person regardless, but having the games take place in Vancouver would have been a nice boost for some local hotels and restaurants, who would see benefit to hosting over 600 NHL players, staff, and officials spending around two months in the city.

Though fans wouldn’t have been able to attend games anyway, not having the NHL play in Vancouver will be a loss for some local hotels and restaurants, who stood to profit off of over 600 NHL players, staff, and officials setting up shop for upwards of two months in the city.

Now, the NHL’s hub city list has been shortened to include Edmonton, Toronto, Las Vegas, Chicago, and Los Angeles.

“I want to thank the Vancouver Canucks for leading the bid efforts to bring the NHL playoffs to Vancouver. Our government was proud to support the bid, and we appreciate the hard work and enthusiasm that went into the process,” Lisa Beare, Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, responsible for Sport said in a statement.

“Our government has been clear that our priority is the health and safety of British Columbians. Our hard work in flattening the curve against COVID-19 is what made Vancouver a strong candidate. We are proud of the progress B.C. has made, and we have been clear that we will not bend our rules and risk this progress.”

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