The league still does not know if there will be any playoff games in Canada.
The first round of the National Hockey League Stanley Cup Playoffs has begun but the league is concerned about the third round and whether there can be games played in Canada. There will be a Canadian team in the league’s semi-final round and that is a major problem. The NHL wants to know if an American team can travel to Canada or if a Canadian team has to be based in the United States as the US-Canadian border is closed and people entering Canada have to go into a quarantine because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Canada is far behind the United States in COVID-19 vaccinations and Ontario is going through yet another lockdown. Alberta has a very high number of people in ICU because of COVID-19. Quebec is easing COVID-19 restrictions. Just three percent of Canadians are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. But the Justin Trudeau government might be willing to make a special exception for the NHL and allow a visiting team from the U.S. to fly into a Canadian city to play Stanley Cup playoff games without quarantine requirements.
The NHL wants to know by June 1st whether the Canadian government will make that exception. The country did make an exception for the National Hockey League by cutting down the quarantine to seven days for players who were traded to a North Division team this season. The North Division housed all seven Canadian teams this year. In March, Canada opened quarantine hotels for international flights landing in the country, and in early May the country banned flights from India and Pakistan as those countries are dealing with a severe COVID-19 outbreak. The Wilson Task Force on Public Health and the U.S.-Canadian Border has not been able to come up with guidelines to reopen the border. Meanwhile, the NHL waits.
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