Las Vegas is expected to be named one of two hub cities that’ll be used when the 2019-20 NHL season resumes under a unique 24-team playoff format.
It’s unclear exactly where the second city will be, however Dallas Stars forward Andrew Cogliano thinks it would be great if one of the hub cities was located north of the border.
“Talking personally, in terms of what I would enjoy, I’d love to play in Canada,” Cogliano said Wednesday during an appearance on Hockey Central. “With the knowledge we’re not going to have fans in the stands in terms of playing in playoffs and that atmosphere, I think one thing players can really grasp and feed off of is the energy of what’s going on outside the rink and there’s no better place (for that) than being in Canada.”
There were various travel restrictions and quarantine regulations implemented after COVID-19 was declared a pandemic earlier this year, however Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Tuesday the federal government is open to the possibility of allowing the NHL to have one of its hub cities in Canada.
Toronto, Edmonton and Vancouver are three leading options with Toronto reportedly favoured over the two Western Canadian cities.
Cogliano, who grew up in the Greater Toronto Area, suggested the energy that would come from playing in a hockey-crazed Canadian city is something players would embrace and use as fuel under what is obviously an unusual post-season setting.
“As a player, I try to get away from the media, the social media, the attention, especially in playoffs because you want to be focussed (despite) what’s going on outside,” Cogliano said. “But I honestly think it’s going to be a scenario where guys are going to want to see and hear all the stuff that’s being talked about (by) the fans and people that are watching because we’re not actually going to have fans during the games.
“So, when I think about myself, personally, in terms of my opinion and what I would really feed off in terms of the energy, I think playing in Canada you can’t really get much better. I know the people and the cities will truly embrace it and I think it’s something that the players can really use in a situation like this.”
The Stars finished fourth in the Western Conference in points percentage so they will compete in a round robin with the St. Louis Blues, Colorado Avalanche and Vegas Golden Knights to determine seeding for the conference quarterfinals.
Although fans won’t be permitted to attend any games, it’s possible players will be allowed to sit in the stands and watch their peers, which could add an interesting wrinkle to the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
“It’s something really weird to think about to be honest. How I look at it is it’s going to be like a tournament almost, a tournament feel,” Cogliano said. “You think about when you played at the world juniors or the guys that have played at world championships and Olympics I think it’s the same feel. You go back to your hotel, you hang out with the guys, you hang out with your team and then you go play and if an option is to watch playoff games and watch other teams, I think guys that really like hockey and enjoy it and want to watch will go. I don’t see a problem. At the end of the day, why wouldn’t you?”
Cogliano, who had 14 points in 68 regular-season games, said he and his family have been staying in B.C., after they left Dallas shortly after the regular season was shut down. He added that he hadn’t skated at all until last week and since he’s a short drive to Calgary, that where he’s been doing his on-ice workouts.