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Toronto and Edmonton expected to be named hub cities

One step closer

Buffalo Sabres v Toronto Maple Leafs Photo by Kevin Sousa/NHLI via Getty Images

Earlier today, Sportsnet reported that Toronto and Edmonton would likely be announced as the NHL’s hub cities as part of the league’s return-to-play plan. Less than an hour ago, Mollie Walker of the New York Post reported that an NHL team executive has confirmed that Toronto and Edmonton will be the hub cities.

Phase 3 of the NHL’s return-to-play plan, which includes players reporting to their teams for training camps, is scheduled to begin on July 10.

However, nothing is finalized just yet. The CBC is reporting that Toronto Public Health has not been notified of any decision made by the NHL. Clearly, there is still some work that needs to be done, especially in the case of Toronto.

“As of July 1, 2020, Toronto Public Health has not been notified that Toronto has been designated as a hub city for the NHL,” Dubey said in a statement released Wednesday.

Should Toronto be selected, it would be the location of the New York Rangers’ play-in series against the Carolina Hurricanes. As Elliotte Friedman and others have reported, there will be an eastern hub city for Eastern Conference teams and a western hub city for Western Conference teams. In addition to boasting plenty of hotels, Toronto also has an abundance of ice rinks, including the Maple Leafs’ practice facility which houses four sheets of ice. Toronto is also the home of the Coca-Cola Coliseum, the home of the AHL’s Toronto Marlies.

Just yesterday, the Toronto city council voted to make wearing masks and face coverings indoors mandatory in the city. The temporary bylaw will go into effect on July 7 — a few days after a similar bylaw makes wearing masks and face coverings mandatory on public transit. Per the CBC, there have been 14,270 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Toronto and 1,090 deaths as of June 29.

All signs point to the NHL preparing to take another step in its perilous march to return to play.