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Which NHL cities right now are best equipped to host hockey in a pandemic?



Las Vegas

COVID-19 completely turned our lives upside down. There is no country left unaffected by the virus and it seems like it’s not going anywhere anytime soon. We all have had to adjust to a completely new lifestyle, which included trying to self-isolate and staying away from social gatherings. But the effect of the pandemic goes beyond just changing our daily routines. It also affected every single industry and business around the world.

And due to several reasons, some businesses are either still struggling to get through this period or have decided to shut down, maybe forever. But at the same time, others used this time to their advantage by moving to the digital scene. This isn’t something that will just help them survive these hard times, but it will also be a long-term benefit as the digital sphere is slowly becoming our number one destination.

These businesses have allowed people stuck at home to still have fun while being deprived of attending sports games or going to restaurants. During the lockdown regime, a lot of people turned to the digital scene for entertainment and this is why the popularity of online casinos and gaming websites have gone off the charts during the past few months. More and more people wanted to play roulette online or participate in esports betting. This turned out to be the perfect solution for all the people who love to feel the adrenaline but who aren’t able to attend sports matches and other events.

And while the sports fans are still doing what they love to do, by streaming their favorite matches online during the lockdown regime, the same can’t be said about all the professional athletes, including hockey players who just had to wait until the situation got more or less stable in order to get back in the business.

Lucky for them, the time has come to slowly restart and reopen matches and playoffs and the NHL has already announced 10 cities that would be best suited to host the reopening of the season and playoffs. But since a lot has changed from the first announcement the NHL made, CBC sports also evaluated all the candidates and their capability of hosting such events. And here are some of the top options:

There were 48,351 cases of COVID-19 and 2,285 deaths among Chicago residents as of June 8. Officials have recently been reopening many park amenities, but close-contact group sports such as basketball, soccer, and touch football remain prohibited. To this point, testing is limited to residents with symptoms or who have been exposed to COVID-19. Which might create some technical issues.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot spoke out about this idea: ” As you know, we are a hockey city. We’re one of the original franchises in the league. Hockey is deeply ingrained into the sports fabric of our city and I’m going to do everything I can to support the efforts of the Blackhawks and others to bring hockey playoffs to Chicago.”
Los Angeles
California is currently about to enter Stage 3 of its four-stage reopening plan, which includes the reopening of gyms and movie theatres, as examples. Many of the parks and beaches are open to the public.
In Los Angeles County, where more than 10 million people reside, officials still have a “safer at home” order until further notice.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti hasn’t spoken directly to the prospect of the city being an NHL hub, however, he did say in mid-April he didn’t see pro sports being played in L.A. in 2021.
“It’s difficult to imagine us getting together in the thousands anytime soon,” he said in an interview with CNN.
Gov. Gavin Newsom was at first skeptical regarding sports taking place in the state anytime soon, but in mid-May he said that pro sports might be able to return as early as June.

Las Vegas
Currently, there has been a total of 7,799 cases confirmed in this city. And the amount of people in a public or private gathering has been increased from 10 to no more than 50 people. Nevada is now well into Phase 2 of its reopening, which began May 29, allowing most businesses to resume operations as normal, including casinos. As of right now, it’s still unclear what the summer sports schedule will look like. Under the state’s Phase 2 plan, the governor has said youth sports and recreation were “anticipated to open” at some point and hockey might be one of the first among them.

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