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NHL Return Update: British Columbia Ready To Be Only NHL Hub?

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As the NHL begins to narrow down the list of prospective Hub Cities should the league return to the ice to complete the 2019-2020 season, the Premier of British Columbia, John Horgan has made it known that his province is ready to not just be one of potentially four NHL Hub Cities with Vancouver but also the only Hub – as a province to host the remainder of the season.

“I believe we’re in a good place to host, that’s why I contacted the commissioner,” Horgan said in a Wednesday night press conference. “The Canucks have been working very cooperatively with my minister; we’ve heard from others around the league that have other ideas about perhaps having all of the games played in British Columbia.”

A day after NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said he’s ‘not even contemplating’ canceling the season, Horgan pointed out, Vancouver and Rogers Arena isn’t the only city and venue British Columbia has to offer for games and training, they also have a plethora of WHL rinks. In addition to that, there’s no shortage of places for players, team and league personnel to hunker down in either.

“We have WHL rinks in Victoria, in Kamloops, in Kelowna, in Prince George… Cranbrook has an outstanding facility as well. We have hotel space, so the sky’s really the limit.”

Fans connecting through virtual reality

Washington Capitals owner Ted Leonis is hoping that despite the fact fans won’t be able to attend games if and when the NHL returns, they can still accomplish the in-person experience from their living room couches. Leonis has suggested the use of virtual reality but as Greg Wyshynski of ESPN writes, we’re not quite there yet. 

Sobering And Hopeful In Alberta

Alberta and specifically the city of Edmonton, are also expressing their willingness and readiness to become an NHL Hub City for a potential NHL return. Ryan Rishaug and Rick Westhead of TSN interviewed Dr. Lynora Saxinger from the University of Alberta and former president of the Edmonton Oilers Patrick La Forge. The roundtable looked at the difficulties that still lie ahead for an NHL return and how the league could safely pull it off. Are you ready for hockey with no fights, scrums, and spitting?

Crosby Prefers 24-team Playoff Format

Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby would prefer a 24-team playoff format as opposed to an NCAA March Madness type of format.

I’d prefer that,” Crosby told Darren Dreger of TSN. “There’s so many factors, right. The safety of players is No. 1 and if you’re able to establish that then you want to keep the integrity of what the playoffs have been for a long, long time. It’s difficult to win the Stanley Cup and you want to win it the right way and that’s four best four-out-of-seven series, so that’s how we know it. In a time like this, we’re all open to ideas and formats and things like that, but you hope we can keep that.”

Ritchie Still Doesn’t Really Know His Teammates

As Alex Thomas reports, the newest Boston Bruins player, Nick Ritchie, never had time to get really acquainted with his new Bruins teammates after being traded to the Bruins from the Anaheim Ducks back on February 24.

Obviously it’s been tough where we haven’t seen the team or obviously practice or anything,” Ritchie admitted to the media in a Zoom call Wednesday. “I was there for such a little time that I didn’t get to know everybody like everyone else knew everybody with me being one of the few new guys. That kind of sucked that the pause happened.”

With over 18 years of experience (SiriusXM NHL Network Radio, ESPNBoston, NESN, NHL.com, etc.) covering the Bruins, the NHL, NCAA and junior hockey and more, Jimmy Murphy’s hockey black book is full of Hall of Famers, current players, coaches, management, scouts and a wide array of hockey media personalities that have lived in and around this great game. For 15 of his 18 years as a hockey and sports reporter, Murph covered the Bruins on essentially a daily basis covering their victorious 2011 Stanley Cup run and their 2013 run to the Final as well. Murphy has hosted national and local radio shows and podcasts and also has experience in TV as well.

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