NHL hub city process down to 5 possibilities, including Las Vegas


Steve Marcus

Players warm up before a game between the Vegas Golden Knights and the Detroit Red Wings at T-Mobile Arena Saturday, March 23, 2019.

Thu, Jun 25, 2020 (5:11 p.m.)

Las Vegas is one of five finalists to host the NHL playoffs.

If and when the NHL returns, it will do so in two hub cities, where each conference will send 12 teams to play at least the qualifying and first two rounds.

The Vancouver Canucks, one of the remaining six possibilities as a host, announced today that their city was out.

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

The remaining finalists in addition to Las Vegas are Chicago, Edmonton, Los Angeles and Toronto. A decision is expected in the coming days, and Las Vegas has long been considered a frontrunner.

Previously, Columbus, Dallas, Pittsburgh and St. Paul had announced that they were no longer in contention.

The Golden Knights, one of the top four teams in the Western Conference, will not compete in the qualifying round, instead playing in a three-game round-robin to determine seeding for the first round. They will play the St. Louis Blues, Colorado Avalanche and Dallas Stars.

The NHL is allowing small-group workouts on the ice at team facilities. The league is planning to move to its next phase on July 10, which would be mandatory training camps ahead of a return to game action. The date for the beginning of the final phase, live competition, has not been announced.

However, the Tampa Bay Lightning recently had to close their facility after three players and additional staff tested positive for COVID-19. They re-opened their facility five days later. It is unclear if that will push back the next phase opening on July 10.

Justin Emerson can be reached at 702-259-8814 or [email protected]. Follow Justin on Twitter at twitter.com/@j15emerson.

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