Feds to allow winner of NHL North Division to cross Canada-U.S. border amid COVID-19

The NHL logo is seen on a goal at a Nashville Predators practice rink in Nashville, Tenn. on Sept. 17, 2012. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Mark Humphrey. AP/Mark Humphrey

The federal government has granted a travel exemption that will allow the winner of the NHL’s all-Canadian North Division and one or two American counterparts to cross the border without having to isolate for 14 days during the third and final rounds of the playoffs.

In an email to Global News Sunday, NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly expressed his appreciation for the federal decision. He also said they have worked “closely with PHAC” to come up with strict protocols.

“The National Hockey League is very appreciative of the decision by the Canadian government and the Federal health officials to allow the Canadian team that advances to the Stanley Cup Semi-Finals and, potentially, the Final, to host games in their own rinks,” Daly said in an emailed statement.

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“As we did during our Return to Play last August and September in the Edmonton and Toronto bubbles and throughout the 2020-21 regular season, we have again worked closely with PHAC, and the provincial and municipal health authorities to develop a series of strict protocols that will protect the safety of all concerned,” he added.

The Canada-U.S. border was closed to all non-essential travellers in March of 2020.

A two-week isolation period is currently required for all non-essential travellers entering the country due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The NHL, now in playoff season, had been grappling with how to continue playing while navigating the shuttered border.

Click to play video: 'Health-care workers leave Leafs, Canadiens game with mixed emotions'
Health-care workers leave Leafs, Canadiens game with mixed emotions

Currently, two Canadian teams — the Montreal Canadiens and the Winnipeg Jets, remain in the race for the Stanley Cup.

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The winner of the Canadiens and Jets series will continue on to play either the Vegas Golden Knights, or Colorado Avalanche.

More to come…

-With files from Global News’ Hannah Jackson

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