Will Toronto be a bubble hub again in 2021?
While everyone hopes that the spread of COVID-19 is brought under better control over the next three months, if fans are still forbidden in rinks and the Canada-U.S. border remains shut, then the next NHL season could start with multi-team venues for the 31 clubs.
Expect Toronto to be back in that mix.
“I’d certainly be prepared to lead discussions with the province, with our medical officer of health, the NHL, the players association, MLSE, all those involved, to offer Toronto again as a place to keep hockey going,” Mayor John Tory said Wednesday. “These aren’t my decisions alone. One of the reasons we’ve succeeded in this bubble and relatively well in battling this – with lots of work left to be done – is we’ve worked together.
“I happen to believe this is the world capital of hockey and look forward to next season because I believe our team will be back in (the playoffs) again.”
Toronto and Edmonton were chosen for the 24-team playoff this summer, but cities such as Vancouver, Calgary, Las Vegas, Dallas, Pittsburgh and Minneapolis-St. Paul were in the running and would likely be prominent again if hub cities are considered.
The league could also look at allowing one quarter or one third attendance at all rinks as the KHL plans in Europe and gradually increase crowd sizes if there are no further large COVID outbreaks.