Kevin Lowe believes Edmonton deserves to be NHL hub city

Edmonton Oilers alternate governor Kevin Lowe joined Hockey Central to make his case for why Edmonton should be chosen as one of the NHL hub cities for the playoffs.

When the NHL resumes the 2019-20 season, Kevin Lowe believes there should be hockey in Edmonton.

The vice-chairman of Oilers Entertainment Group joined Hockey Central on Friday and stated the case for the home of the Oilers to be named as one of two hub cities, praising the province of Alberta for its handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and throwing his support behind the city and the club’s new facility.

“Obviously, a great facility,” Lowe said. “I think on the health side, Alberta’s done a great job with great cooperation with the province to this point.”

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Edmonton is one of 10 cities currently under consideration to be a hub city. Vancouver and Toronto are the other two Canadian cities in the running.

Both NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and deputy commissioner Bill Daley have stressed safety as the most important factor in the decision-making, as well as facilities and accommodations as players from 12 teams would descend upon each conference’s host city.

As Sportsnet’s Mark Spector reported on Thursday, Edmonton has the fewest cases of COVID-19 of cities being considered.

NHL brass has indicated that they’d like to have one hub city in Canada and one in the U.S., but uncertainty around the border closure and Canada’s mandatory 14-day quarantine for all incoming travellers has been a major question in that decision. According to Spector, the Canadian government is expected to ease restrictions on that front, with an announcement expected soon.

Lowe indicated that while hosting a group of quarantined Western Conference players might not necessarily serve as a big economic boost for the city and province, it would certainly lift spirits in and around the hockey-loving city.

“Alberta’s had a tough go here for the last number of years … a lot of hard-working people here have created a great province,” he said. “I just think that, if we’re fortunate enough to win the bid, it’s not gonna make any difference economically — maybe a few small businesses might reap the benefits — but it’ll be a real shot in the arm.”

He also praised the staff behind the bid.

“We have an incredible executive staff. Tom Anselmi, Bob Nicholson — you can’t find two guys that are more experienced, and the guys that work under them on the operations side, they’ve just put an amazing bid in,” said Lowe. “They deserve it.”

The NHL has not said when it will name the two hubs, but a decision is expected within the next few weeks.

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