The COVID-19 Pandemic Is Not Stopping The Stanley Cup Playoffs

So the season restarts.

The National Hockey League has joined the grand experiment of whether sports can be played during the COVID-19 pandemic. The NHL has two hub cities, Edmonton, Alberta and Toronto, Ontario in Canada and is foregoing places in the United States. Initially, the NHL kicked the tires in some American cities and it was thought Las Vegas would be one of the two cities that would end up with 12 teams competing. The NHL will play in what is considered a safer environment as neither Alberta nor Ontario are in hot zones. The NHL is hoping to get the 24-team Stanley Cup playoffs started on August 1.  Alberta has a bit more than 8,500 reported COVID-19 cases since the beginning of the outbreak through the weekend. Ontario has had more than 36,000 COVID-19 cases since March. The Canadian border has been opened up for NHL personnel. There will be no self-quarantine for NHL employees assigned to the hub cities even though people trying get into Canada must adhere to a 14-day self-quarantine period. There have been NHL workers who have tested positive for COVID-19.

The NHL return to play is part of a new Collective Bargaining Agreement that was hammered out. The deal lasts until 2026 and will allow NHL players to compete in the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, China. The league has to work out details with the International Olympic Committee for that to happen. There is no guarantee that Olympics will take place because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The owners and the players are satisfied with the salary structure that has been created in the economic world of COVID-19. The new CBA means that Seattle will enter the league without the threat of a lockout or a strike hanging over the expansion team when the franchise takes to the ice in 2021. The experiment begins.

(AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)