As more news and clarity starts trickling in for the NHL’s plan to return to action, it’s looking likely that Las Vegas will be one of those hub city locations.
Picking the right hub cities to host 12 teams in each city is paramount in the NHL’s plan to return to play, and the Nashville Predators will definitely be traveling to one of the two.
Per a report from Chris Johnston of Sportsnet, Las Vegas will be officially announced as one of the hub cities later this month, with a Canadien city being considered for the other location:
The story was originally put out by the Las Vegas Review-Journal, which states that MGM Resorts will host teams starting in July.
Heading to Sin City?
Las Vegas has always been speculated as one of the two cities since the hub cities were mentioned initially by NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman. However, there’s going to be plenty of pushback on this selection.
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After both cities are selected, then we’ll have to wait to find out which conference will go where. I don’t think it matters too much if a Western Conference city hosts Western Conference teams. It’s all about what logistically makes the most sense and what the safest plan is.
An official announcement from the NHL is expected by June 22 on the two hub cities. Up to ten cities have been considered.
International border crossings will make choosing a Canadian city all the more complicated in a situation that’s already complicated enough as it is.
Las Vegas is definitely an interesting choice by the NHL. It’s not exactly what you would consider ideal during the summer months.
Getting closer to hockey’s return
Toronto makes the most sense as the other hub city selected, but Canada’s government has the obvious final say on that. If Canada can’t be selected, then I could see Columbus as a backup plan.
It’s all about having enough hotel space, ice to train on and adequate testing capabilities for these cities to be considered.
This is obviously going to take its toll on the players and coaching staffs. They’re going to be confined to their hotels and going directly to the arena while the playoffs are conducted.
Training camps are still on the pathway to opening up officially on July 10, with actual games hopefully starting by August 1. This will undoubtedly affect the start of the 2020-21 season, which has many fans skeptical about going forward with this plan in the first place.
The Nashville Predators have the No. 6 seed and are in the qualifying round, and will square off with the No.11 seeded Arizona Coyotes. It will be a best-of-five series, with the following round being reseeded based off a round robin play with the top-four seeds in each conference.
This plan has been complex by the NHL to say the least, and getting these hub cities selected is yet another step in the right direction to getting hockey back.