Ontario premier confident in NHL’s pandemic plan for hub cities

Chris Johnston joins Hockey Central to discuss how Edmonton and Toronto became the choice hub cities for the NHL's plan to return to play.

TORONTO — With the NHL and NHL Players’ Association reportedly on the verge of signing off on a plan to return to play in Edmonton and Toronto this summer, Ontario’s premier is defending his province’s decision to try to host the league in the midst of a pandemic.

Doug Ford says he’s comfortable with the NHL’s plan, despite the fact British Columbia expressed some reservations about health procedures that ultimately led to Vancouver dropping out of hub-city contention.

Multiple media outlets have reported Toronto and Edmonton are the league’s choices for hub cities during a 24-team resumption of play slated to start later this summer.

The league hopes to start training camps in the 24 cities next week.

Seven American cities and three Canadian cities started as candidates to be hub cities, but the recent surge of COVID-19 cases in the United States made an all-Canadian return more enticing.

“They have very stringent rules and regulations for their players,” Ford said of the NHL. “When they told me (players are) getting tested every single day, I’m no medical professional but I don’t think they need testing every day. Maybe every third day or whatever.

“They’re tough on the players. I think people would like to see a few hockey games on television. I don’t think it would be too bad.”

When submitting content, please abide by our submission guidelines, and avoid posting profanity, personal attacks or harassment. Should you violate our submissions guidelines, we reserve the right to remove your comments and block your account. Sportsnet reserves the right to close a story’s comment section at any time.