With the NHL’s time frame to get hockey up and running starting to narrow, the list of potential hub cities has narrowed from 10 to 6, and that includes all 3 Canadian cities. Yesterday though, there were rumblings that the decision’s been made, and we should expect an announcement soon:
Heard from someone with a good connection to the league that the hub cities are picked.— Tyler Yaremchuk (@tyleryaremchuk) June 21, 2020
They said it’s Vegas for the Eastern Conference and Vancouver for the Western Conference.
So it sounds like Edmonton is not going to get the games.
Regardless of your thoughts on whether or not this is a good idea, the potential for Vancouver to be one of the cities is looking more and more like a wise choice. BC’s done a fantastic job of preventing the spread, and if everything works the way it’s supposed to, it could work to ensure as much as possible that players, coaches, support staff and media remain safe. The question remains why they would be so married to Vegas when you look at the numbers there, when there are cities with far better infection rates? Is it just because of the hotel availability? Let’s not forget, this is going to be played in the dead of summer, when temperatures in Vegas routinely eclipse 100 F.
While we’re loathe to give him credit for anything, Gary Bettman is certainly coming out of all this looking better than the other major sports commissioners. Between the NFL trying to avoid what seems like an inevitable cancellation, to whatever the hell Major League Baseball is doing, to the NBA locking themselves into playing in Orlando, when this happened:
Florida:— Hamza Shaban (@hshaban) June 17, 2020
— 260 workers at the Orlando Airport tested positive for the coronavirus after nearly 500 employees were tested.
— 2,993 Covid deaths
— Yesterday was the 4th time in 6 days the state reported an all-time single day high of new caseshttps://t.co/0z05gxo6A7
If the NHL can manage to keep infections to a minimum (because let’s face it, getting through this with none would be the real Miracle On Ice), Gary just might be owed a sticktap. That’s a big if, though. So much could go wrong, and horribly so.
As we mentioned over the weekend, former NHL’ers Daniel Carcillo and Garrett Taylor launched a class action lawsuit against the Canadian Hockey League over abuse allegations related to hazing rituals in junior hockey. If you’ve read it, you know it’s deeply disturbing but probably not the biggest shock in the world. Anyone who has ever played some form of organized sports has probably seen some of this stuff, though this goes far beyond what people normally picture in these scenarios.
On Thursday, Sportsnet650’s Andrew Walker decided to weigh in on this:
Took a few days to give some more thought to the comments made on @Sportsnet650 The Program on Thursday. Here is an excerpt of what was said, because sometimes things hit harder in writing. https://t.co/PUljwSRGz6 pic.twitter.com/kDLTOsbE2Q— Sam (@samanthacp_) June 21, 2020
Samantha’s bang on here: Walker is totally trying to reframe the allegations, using Carcillo’s past as a disqualification for him to be able to seek redress for himself and others. He trots out a number of very familiar themes, ones that are always used to cast doubt on allegations such as these. There are no shortage of gatekeepers of the game who are standing guard right now, like Walker, ready to attack Carcillo as a hypocrite because of how he played the game, something that a) he has repeatedly and earnestly atoned for if you’re at all familiar with his Twitter account, and b) can’t seem to wrap their heads around the fact that Carcillo’s actions as a player are likely a product of the very system he’s trying to reform.
And this morning, Carcillo took to Twitter to address Walker’s comments:
Happy Monday morning to everyone— Daniel Carcillo (@CarBombBoom13) June 22, 2020
My lawyer somehow caught wind of the slanderous claims that @AndrewWalker650 made on @Sportsnet650 about myself and the class action lawsuit against the @CHLHockey
I will leave it at that#hockey #abuse @Sportsnet
2/ He also somehow caught wind of the slanderous claims that @simmonssteve has said about me recently— Daniel Carcillo (@CarBombBoom13) June 22, 2020
I would encourage men in hockey media to watch their words carefully
Just bc I’ve opened up my closet doesn’t mean I will allow you to fill it with unsubstantiated claims
3/ There have already been many current & former @Sportsnet employees who had issues with @AndrewWalker650 or felt abused or uncomfortable around him, reach out to me— Daniel Carcillo (@CarBombBoom13) June 22, 2020
If you are 1 of these ppl that have been abused by Andrew Walker, you can reach out in confidence@Sportsnet650
Interestingly enough, Walker likely made this whole thing worse for himself by doing this:
Man, I can’t even be upset wirh Andrew Walker— Daniel Carcillo (@CarBombBoom13) June 22, 2020
I usually don’t bring attention to a like him, but I have empathy for him
To b this uneducated about what u r speaking about is impressive@Sportsnet650 r u going to stand behind some1 who shames victims of abuse#abuse #hockey https://t.co/QjoHjCcvJl pic.twitter.com/iOYd1RUGWA
Walker’s time in Vancouver has been eventful, to put it mildly. Abrasive, and seemingly contrarian for clicks and listens as opposed to the position actually having merit, he’s become one of the city’s most loathed media figures. If that’s why Sportsnet650 brought him in, then they can give themselves a backpat for a job well done. The question is, are they willing to lose listeners over it?
UPDATE: Andrew Walker issued a statement a short time ago on Twitter:
A statement from me: pic.twitter.com/vO6zgqCzEo— Andrew Walker (@AndrewWalker650) June 22, 2020
That’s a well written apology, and I don’t doubt it’s sincerity (because if there’s something that can get you to examine and admit you fucked up, it’s the threat of legal action). I think he, and many others involved in the game, whether they play it, run it or cover it, should be examining why on earth they would be trying to defend these actions, too.
In other news, the IIHF has a date in mind for the next World Championships:
Official from IIHF virtual congress: To adjust to a possibly later start of leagues in Europe and North America, the 2021 IIHF World Championship has been pushed forward by two weeks: 21 May - 6 June 2021, latest start ever for an IIHF Worlds.— EuropeanHockeyClubs (@EHCAlliance) June 22, 2020