The champion of the NHL’s all-Canadian division and a U.S. equivalent is apparently working on a travel exemption that would allow them to cross the border during the third and final rounds of the Stanley Cup playoffs.
The exception would allow teams still fighting for the Stanley Cup to visit Canada for games without having to isolate for 14 days, as is currently required for all non-essential passengers entering the country, according to two federal government sources.
The NHL has been attempting to get approval from public health officials in the provinces and cities that still have teams in the playoffs, according to the people, who were granted anonymity by The Canadian Press because they aren’t authorized to speak publicly.
Following the collection of those signatures, the request would be forwarded to federal Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino for final approval. The NHL is still waiting for answers from governments, according to a league representative. “It’s a work in progress,” NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly stated in an email to The Canadian Press.
Prior to any permission, public health and safety would take precedence, according to the sources. In the North Division final, the winner of Monday night’s series-clinching Game 7 between the Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs will face the Winnipeg Jets.
In the league semifinals, the winner of the series will face one of three U.S. division champions. The Stanley Cup will be decided between the two semifinal winners. If permitted, this would be the first time in the NHL’s COVID-19 epidemic that regular cross-border travel occurred. The NHL wrapped out its season last summer with hubs in Toronto and Edmonton, with all American clubs crossing the border only once before departing.
Before this year’s trade deadline in April, NHL players were allowed a special exemption to serve only a seven-day quarantine. Under “national interest grounds,” the federal government granted an exemption to the mandatory 14-day quarantine period for NHL players and team officials returning to Canada for training camp in December.