Manitoba has not made a final decision on whether or not the Winnipeg Jets will be allowed to play games at home this season.
At a press conference on Monday, Dr. Jazz Atwal, Manitoba’s acting deputy chief provincial public health officer, said the province has reviewed a plan from the league but work is still ongoing.
“There are five provinces that are impacted by this,” Atwal said.
“We have met federally with some federal public health individuals as well and with some interprovincial public health individuals, and work is ongoing in relation to whether or not there is public health risk to the NHL coming back.”
If the plan does get approved, Atwal said there will be no fans in the stands at Bell MTS Place.
“We’ll have to take sort of week-by-week, month-to-month,” he said. “There’s no desire to open fans up to watching hockey games at this point.”
The NHL recently announced a 56-game schedule to begin Jan. 13.
The current plan is to play games in home arenas, however, the league said it is prepared to play games in one or more neutral sites depending on the coronavirus situation in local markets.
Kelly Moore, who will be hosting the Jets’ pre and post-game shows on 680 CJOB, is optimistic about the season.
“COVID is going to be a concern,” Moore said.
“When it happens, because it surely will, then you deal with it and you continue to play on. Baseball has shown us that, the National Football League is showing that.”
The NHL has also realigned its divisions, and to help minimize travel, is shifting to exclusively intradivisional play.
The North Division includes all seven Canadian teams.
Moore said hockey fans are in for a treat with the all-Canadian matchups.
“Can you imagine the level of hatred by the time you get to meeting eight or nine and there’s a playoff spot on the line?”