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Federal government 'open' to NHL hub cities in Canada

Last Updated Jun 16, 2020 at 2:18 pm EDT

FILE - Vancouver Canucks forward Brock Boeser. (Darryl Dyck/CP)

OTTAWA (NEWS 1130) — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the federal government is “open” to the NHL operating a hub city in Canada.

Trudeau said Tuesday that the decision will need to be made by the NHL and the provincial and municipal governments where the league wishes to operate.

“We have indicated that we are comfortable with moving forward on an NHL hub in one of three Canadian cities that are asking for it,” he added. “Obviously, the decision needs to be made by the NHL and the cities and provinces in the jurisdiction. But Canada is open to it, as long as it is okay by the local health authorities.”

The NHL is looking at a return to action that would feature 24 teams operating out of two hubs.

The league has narrowed down its potential sites to 10 cities, including Toronto, Edmonton, and Vancouver.

However, the league has said it will not operate out of a Canadian city if players are subject to the mandatory 14-day quarantine currently in effect at the national border.

The NHL is currently in Phase 2 of its return-to-action plan, meaning players can use team facilities to train in small groups.

RELATED: Vancouver shortlisted for one of two NHL hub cities

The league hopes to progress to Phase 3, the opening of training camps, on July 10, with a return to competition later in the summer.

The NHL is supposed to release its decision regarding hub cities within a week.

Last week, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry approved a plan for Vancouver to be a possible NHL hub city.

John Horgan said Henry agreed to a modification of the quarantine plan that would allow an NHL team to be a family entity, or a ‘bubble.’

He added individuals within a team would stay together in one hotel and would travel to Rogers Arena in Vancouver together in private transportation.

The NHL suspended operations in March due to the pandemic.