If you’re looking forward to the best playoffs in professional sports, the COVID police state that is Canada might throw a wrench into those plans.
The National Hockey League (NHL) is currently in negotiations with the Canadian government over how teams will be allowed to travel during the upcoming playoff season.
“If we can't travel in Canada, either as among the provinces or from the U.S. to Canada and back, we'll make whatever adjustments we have to do to get the playoffs completed,” NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said, according to ESPN.
While the rules Canada has in place won’t impact the first couple rounds of the playoffs because teams play within their own divisions in the first two rounds, the rounds following could see international travel make a big impact because of the draconian measures the Canadian government has put in place.
All Canadian NHL teams have been housed within a single division this season and last season in order to cut down on travel.
However, as ESPN reported:
But in June, travel gets complicated. Each division winner advances to make up the final four teams, which will be re-seeded based on regular-season record. That will include the champion of the all-Canadian North Division. Currently, U.S. teams would be prohibited from playing in Canada without mandatory quarantines that would be impossible within the postseason calendar, which will be formatted in the traditional 2-2-1-1-1 home game schedule.
Canada has a 14-day quarantine for anyone who enters the country, although it did cut it down to seven days for NHL players who were traded to a North Division team this season.
One possible scenario being discussed is that the winner of the all-Canadian division being relocated to the U.S. for the remainder of the playoffs should the Canadian government not allow any kind of special exemption for said Canadian team.
Federal governments around the world have overstepped their bounds, using the pandemic as a reason to exert different levels of control over the citizenry. Hopefully, that persecution doesn’t ruin what is typically one of the best months-and-a-half of sport.