NHL might have an all Canadian division next year due to border restrictions
Thanks to the ongoing global pandemic, no one really knows how the upcoming 2020-21 NHL season will play out but one solution may include an all Canadian division.
On Wednesday, Vegas Golden Knights owner Bill Foley joined the Vegas Hockey Hotline show on local radio station KSPH where he shared his thoughts on how the next hockey season might be affected by COVID-19.
"It is a big deal. I don't think that border's going to be open before January 1st, if it's open January 1st. I really don't," Foley said, adding that he does not think the league will be up and running by Jan. 1, the NHL's targeted start date.
"Because Canada's going through — they've got spikes going on and they're starting to lockdown again. Winnipeg's locking down. Quebec has got spikes going on. So, you know, I think they're going to play a Canadian division. I don't think they're going to be crossing the border."
Foley's mention of a Canadian division was prompted by a question about having to frequently face player Nate Schmidt who was recently traded from the Golden Knights to the Vancouver Canucks.
"Yeah, but they're going to be playing in the Canadian division this year," he said.
Vegas Hockey Hotline - Exclusive Bill Foley Interview https://t.co/EbpzlqkJz6— KSHP Radio Las Vegas (@KSHPVegas) October 14, 2020
Foley is not the only one to mention the seven Canadian franchises potentially forming one division. Rumours have been swirling as the Canadian-U.S. border continues to remain closed.
"I don't believe there will a bubble (or bubbles) next season. The players won't want it, and, quite frankly, neither will the owners," Sportsnet's Elliot Friedman wrote in a column back in August.
"They'll want a path towards attendance and will wait as long as possible to try and see one. I do think one season of regionalized travel is possible, with teams playing back-to-backs in one city. Yes, that could mean a Canadian division, for one year only."
NHL bubbles have, of course, meant fans could not attend games during the previous NHL season which means the league has lost money that would normally come from ticket sales.
"You've got to make a serious financial commitment to fund the team if we're not playing in front of fans," Foley added.
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