Canadian Division in America? The latest on the 2020-2021 NHL season

The Government of Canada may force the All-Canadian division to play in America. In a statement released by health officials, in essence it said they will not make any exceptions.

“The Government of Canada’s priority is to protect the health and safety of Canadians. The resumption of sports events in Canada must be undertaken in adherence to Canada’s measures to mitigate the importation and spread of COVID-19. NHL teams and other professional sports teams must operate within the rules of their provincial jurisdictions for sports or sporting events.”

Canadian Division based in an American City?

Brady Tkachuk
Tkachuk and Senators could play home games in the States (Graham Hughes)

This may force the hand of the NHL to place all seven Canadian teams in the U.S.. Baseball fans already saw this with the Toronto Blue Jays playing in Buffalo, NY and the Toronto Raptors of the NBA now in Tampa, FL.

According to Chris Johnston of Sportsnet, the NHL already spoke with all Canadian teams to discuss the possibility. While the league will continue to work with Canada health officials, playing in the U.S. may be the eventual outcome. It could also mean the end of the division altogether. If that is the case, realignment will most likely need to be redone.

Mitch Marner was asked about his thoughts on the matter. “That’s the first I’m hearing it,” he told Luke Fox. “But as long as I could bring my family with me, my dog, and girlfriend then it’s fine.”

Mid-January not looking good

Another matter that is being talked about today is a January 13th date being impossible to hit. I spoke with a team executive who is more inclined to believe a late January start is more realistic.

One thing is clear. The NHL and NHLPA are focused on getting next season underway and that is all hockey fans could hope for.