B.C. Premier John Horgan and provincial health officer Bonnie Henry have endorsed a plan to encourage the National Hockey League (NHL) to consider making Vancouver one of two hub cities that would host 12 hockey teams to play games when the season resumes later this summer.
The plan, supplied by the Vancouver Canucks, would enable hockey teams to stay at local hotels, travel on buses and practice with each team being considered a family unit, or a "bubble," according to Horgan.
Those team units are expected to be a maximum of 50 individuals.
"I've written to the prime minister advising him that Vancouver and British Columbia would welcome the NHL as per the plan that was put together by the Vancouver Canucks, the NHL and of course public health officials," Horgan said.
The letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is because the federal government is administering quarantine rules, and would have to sign off on the plan.
"Dr. Henry has reviewed the plan and it involves modification to the quarantine plan that would allow a team to be a family entity or a bubble, Horgan said. "Those individuals within that organization would stay together in one hotel. They would travel to Rogers Arena together in private transportation. Any testing would be the responsibility of the club. No interaction with the public would take place for the 14-day quarantine period."
He stressed that the approval is for amending the quarantine, and "not changing it in any meaningful way. It's only expanding the number of people within the bubble that would allow for NHL teams to come to Vancouver."
Tourism Vancouver has also been working with the Canucks on this proposal and Horgan said that the organization sees a tremendous benefit to hotels, food and other services if the league makes Vancouver one of its hub cities.
The NHL has selected 10 possible hub cities. Others are Chicago, Columbus, Dallas, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Pittsburgh, Edmonton and Toronto. It is expected to narrow that list down in the coming weeks so play could resume potentially as early as July.