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Vancouver and Edmonton face off today in NHL Hub cities’ competition

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Who will win the Pacific Division hosting battle?

Chicago Blackhawks v Vancouver Canucks
Vancouver Canucks’ owners and NHL league brass get together to celebrate the Sedin brothers’ jersey retirements on February 12th, 2020.
Photo by Ben Nelms/Getty Images

The NHL Board of Governors is meeting today by telephone to discuss many topics including which NHL cities might host regular season and/or playoff games if paused league on ice battles recommence this summer.

The NHL’s preference is to have one club in each of its four divisions host games for all teams in the division. Edmonton appears to be the NHL’s first choice for the Pacific Division hosting duties based upon early reports but Vancouver is in the mix.

Vancouver is one of Canada’s best NHL city potential hub locations due to British Columbia’s well-handled approach to the Covid-19 crisis.

All potential NHL host cities need to overcome numerous hurdles to pass the league’s requirements for consideration.

All considered Canadian hub cities also face barriers in repatriating their overseas personnel. The Canada-USA border will need to be reopened and players returning will need to follow self quarantine requirements.

Otherwise key Canucks’ players will remain in their birth countries perfecting their jump shots.

NHL brass may still eventually decide to cancel the regular season and give up on unique 24 team play-in type ideas and simply proceed with its usual 16 club playoff format. If that happens then it appears clear they will use winning points percentage as the determining statistic to decide upon the participants. In that case, Vancouver and Edmonton would also face off in Round One of the 2020 NHL playoffs.

If Vancouver wins the hub city competition now then they would technically also wrestle the home city designation away from Edmonton. It would be sweet if Canucks’ fans who live near Rogers Arena banged their pots and pans loud enough to be heard within the building when their beloved blue-and-green team bent the mesh inside. It would send the message to Bo Horvat and crew that while their fans are unable to be physically inside the arena with them that they are still with them in spirit. Maybe that would turn out to be the extra push the young bucks need for complete success. Dare Vancouver fans dream of a virtual parade down Robson Street some time in September?

There are many barriers to Vancouver being anointed as one of the NHL’s selected host hub cities. The final and most important one is British Columbian super-heroine Covid-19 protector Dr. Bonnie Henry. She will have to carefully weigh the potential economic benefits for a hurting local economy against the potential health risks of a resurgent virus. If she ends up as the final arbiter and decides to give a thumbs-up go-ahead to the plan then it could brighten up the summer for Canucks’ fans everywhere and especially within Vancouver.