Call it the International Hockey League.
The NHL has landed on Edmonton and Toronto as its two hub cities to host the restart of the 2019-20 NHL season, TSN’s Bob McKenzie reported Tuesday.
Nothing is finalized yet: Players still have to vote on the NHL’s return-to-play proposal later this week, and McKenzie warned of “last-minute complications” that derailed Vancouver and Las Vegas as potential hub cities.
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If Edmonton and Toronto are the hub cities, though, it means the rest of the season will be played in Canada. It also means a Stanley Cup champion will be crowned in Canada for the first time since 2011, when the Boston Bruins took down the Canucks in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final in Vancouver.
The Bruins have a legitimate shot to win the 2020 Stanley Cup, as they enter the restarted season as the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference with the NHL’s best record. Boston is set to play a round-robin tournament against the other top three seeds in the East — the Tampa Bay Lightning, Washington Capitals and Philadelphia Flyers — to determine playoff seeding.
The B’s likely would play these games in Toronto — home of the rival Maple Leafs — which is expected to be the East’s hub city while Edmonton hosts the West. Toronto (and Canada in general) has fared better than many U.S. cities in the face of the coronavirus pandemic, with just over 14,320 total confirmed COVID-19 cases since early March (as of June 29).
The Bruins and other NHL teams are set to begin training camp July 10 as they ramp up for the target return date of July 30.
NHL Rumors: League eyeing all-Canada restart in these two hub cities originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston