TORONTO (AP) — Canada has approved a National Hockey League plan to play in Canada during the coronavirus pandemic, Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland said Friday.
The plan required an exemption as the U.S.-Canada border is currently closed to all non-essential travel until at least July 21 and those who enter Canada must self-isolate for 14 days. The league plans to have training camps open in July and to play games without spectators in a couple of cities in late July or August.
Freeland said Canada’s top public health officer as well as the top health officers of Alberta, British Columbia, Ontario and Toronto worked closely with the NHL to approve the plan.
Freeland said it will be very important for the players to continue to work very closely with health officials and follow their instruction.
Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer, said robust protocols such as group quarantining and testing will be in place.
Ten locations including three Canadian cities are in the running to serve as the “hub” cities that will host 24 playoff teams for initial rounds, Eastern and Western Conference finals and the Stanley Cup Final. Players are expected to be quarantined away from the general public in those cities.