The Vancouver Canucks’ plan to offer their home town as an NHL “hub city” now has the sign off from provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry.
“I am now comfortable indicating my support for this initiative as long as a very strict modified team quarantine and testing protocol as outlined in the plans is follows,” Dr. Henry writes in a letter to Tina Namieniowski, the president of the Public Health Agency of Canada.
The plan the Canucks presented to Dr. Henry and the league has not been made public.
The NHL is set to announce later this month which two cities will play host if the league is able to resume play during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I have written to the prime minister advising him that Vancouver and British Columbia would welcome the NHL,” Premier John Horgan said Wednesday.
“Dr. Henry has reviewed the plan and it involves a modification to the quarantine rules that allows a family to be an entity or a ‘bubble.'”
Horgan says the approved plan allows for a team to stay in one hotel and to travel together in private transportation to Rogers Arena.
The province says any testing would be the responsibility of the club and that players, coaches and staff could not interact with the public during the 14 day quarantine period after entry to Canada.
In a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Horgan is asking Ottawa to allow for ‘isolation bubbles’ that would include arenas and accommodations.
“This modified quarantine regime would enable NHL teams to resume playing without adverse effects on B.C. residents,” Horgan writes.
Canadian cities have been seen as long shots due to the 14 day quarantine requirements for visitors entering Canada from outside the country. Deputy NHL Commissioner Bill Daley said players and team personnel would not come to a city where they were required to quarantine in a hotel room for 14 days.
Vancouver is one of 10 finalist cities vying to act as NHL hubs. Toronto and Edmonton are the two other Canadian cities on the list.
Tourism Vancouver is working with the Canucks on the plan. Vancouver playing host as a hub city could lead to a significant boost in hotel bookings and food/catering services.
“I am going to be on my couch watching the Canucks no matter if the games are in Vancouver or Vegas. I believe Vancouver has a lot to offer the NHL, particularly the players,” Horgan said.
“If you are going to spend the summer months playing hockey and want to bring your family I can’t think of a better place than Vancouver.”View link »