OTTAWA – Discussions are underway to allow champion NHL Northern Section teams to play their home games in Canada in the final two rounds of the Stanley Cup playoffs against a U.S. team.
Sources in both federal governments have confirmed that a scenario is being considered where both teams are exempt from the mandatory 14-day quarantine, which is currently in place in Canada when they return from the United States.
These sources have requested anonymity since they are not authorized to speak publicly on this matter.
They suggested that the NHL was already working on the public health of provinces that still have a playoff team – Quebec, Ontario and Manitoba – to get the protocols approved. Discussions would also take place with the cities involved, namely Montreal, Toronto and Winnipeg.
Once the league has received consent from the various municipal and provincial levels, it intends to make a formal request to the Federal Minister of Immigration, Marco Mendicino, who will represent the final step in the process.
A spokesman for the NHL said the league is awaiting a response from governments.
The winner of the seventh game scheduled for Monday night in the series between the Montreal Canadiens and the Toronto Maple Leafs, crosses swords with the Winnipeg Jets in the second round.
The champion team in the North section will then meet an American team in the semifinals. It will be the first confrontation between a Canadian team and an American team this season.
In April, players who traded on the trading deadline were allowed to reduce the quarantine to seven days.
The NHL added that if the Canadian authorities refuse to ease the restrictions on travel to the United States, the Canadian team participating in the semifinals, and possibly the finals, will have to move to the United States in a temporary home.
Other professional Canadian teams have had to move to the United States this season to avoid quarantine. This is the case with CF Montreal in football, other Canadian teams in MLS, the Toronto Raptors in basketball and the Toronto Blue Jays in Major Baseball.
– With information from Joshua Clipperton.