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Toronto could be used as hub city in event of NHL's return: Tory
Empty seats are seen inside Scotiabank Arena on March 12. (Craig Wadman)
Chris Fox, CP24.com
Published Thursday, May 14, 2020 7:58AM EDT
Mayor John Tory says that he would be in support of the NHL using Toronto as a “hub city” should it resume its season without fans but he says that there are lots of unanswered questions about how the concept would work.
The NHL has discussed the possibility of selecting up to four sites to use as “hub cities” in a possible return to play. Those sites would host multiple teams who would play games at the same arena, cutting down on unnecessary travel.
In an interview with CP24 on Thursday, Tory said that Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment has previously indicated to his office that they were interested in being one of the sites chosen to help the NHL resume its season in the event that officials decide to pursue the “hub cities” model.
Tory, however, said that there has been “no formal proposal” brought forth at this point.
“My view at the time was that Toronto is the hockey capital of world and we should be on that list for consideration but is a very complicated matter,” he said.
The NHL season has been on hold since March 12 and at this point it remains unclear when, or if, it will be able to resume.
Tory said that should the league choose to pursue the hub city model, players would likely be isolated in area hotels but there would be lots of questions around where they would practice and how safety could be maintained.
“I can’t speak for the province but we would give it the green light because I would be proud, I think it would be appropriate and I think MLSE would do an excellent job of respecting public health first and foremost and putting on a spectacle that fans would welcome,” he said. “But the principal consideration isn’t who gives green lights, it becomes can you work out a regime and rules.”
There are a number of obstacles that remain in place to Toronto hosting NHL games without fans, including a federal requirement that anyone arriving in Canada from abroad go into self-isolation for a period of 14 days.