Vancouver (MSN/Score Media) – Vancouver will not serve as one of two hub cities in the NHL’s return-to-play plan, the Canucks announced Thursday.
Vancouver’s bid reportedly suffered a setback following talks with health authorities.
Chicago, Edmonton, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and Toronto are the five remaining candidates after the NHL tabbed 10 cities as finalists when it unveiled its 24-team playoff plan in May.
It was reported Saturday that the league had trimmed its list to six candidates, with all three Canadian cities still in the mix.
Vancouver had appeared to be one of the leading contenders over the last couple of months. British Columbia’s provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, implied in early May that she was open to the city serving as a hub for NHL games.
B.C. Premier John Horgan said less than two weeks later that he’d had “a wide-ranging call” with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman about the possibility of Vancouver hosting games upon the league’s return.
Lisa Beare, Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, responsible for Sport, has issued the following statement regarding Vancouver’s bid to host the National Hockey League (NHL) playoffs:
“The opportunity to host the NHL playoffs is an exciting event for any community.
“While I am disappointed that Vancouver was not chosen as an NHL playoffs hub city, it was an honour to be considered.
“I want to thank the Vancouver Canucks for leading the bid efforts to bring the NHL playoffs to Vancouver. Our government was proud to support the bid, and we appreciate the hard work and enthusiasm that went into the process.
“Our government has been clear that our priority is the health and safety of British Columbians. Our hard work in flattening the curve against COVID-19 is what made Vancouver a strong candidate. We are proud of the progress B.C. has made, and we have been clear that we will not bend our rules and risk this progress.
“British Columbia has a record of success hosting high-profile sport events, including the 2010 Olympic Winter Games, 2019 World Junior Ice Hockey Championship and World Rugby Sevens series. Being a potential host has helped highlight the province as a world-class sports destination, and I look forward to future opportunities to bring professional sporting events to our province.
“Sport brings communities together, and I am proud of our government’s continuing work to support all levels of sport to return to play and work toward our ‘new normal.’ Our collective efforts made B.C. a strong contender, and we will continue to consider all opportunities to showcase sport in B.C.