We are living in uncertain times, and everything has changed.
This is pure speculation, but if I were a NHL General Manager of a team inside the playoff structure I would be looking at the Maritimes as a prime location for training camps if in fact the season were to actually resume.
Let’s face it, we are no where close to the end of the horrific COVID-19 pandemic.
Of course hockey doesn’t matter very much right now.
Nevertheless, you can rest assure NHL front offices are studying and considering every possible scenario with regards to a safe and viable return.
Obviously, there are several factors in play and it’s highly unlikely that this could ever be considered, but you never know.
Some organizations like the Boston Bruins, Pittsburgh Penguins, New York Islanders and Montreal Canadiens have a long history and presence in the Maritimes with regards to holding training camps and hosting exhibition games.
If the NHL does in fact give the go ahead for teams to come together and start training, Atlantic Canada could in fact be a prime destination.
The Toronto Maple Leafs would undoubtedly use their ECHL affiliate the Newfoundland Growlers facilities for their training camp, while the City of Moncton could also be targeted by two NHL teams.
The Hub City has two NHL caliber rinks with the Avenir Centre and the old Moncton Coliseum at its disposal.
Both rinks could be ideal for housing mini training camps, however the only issue with the Moncton Coliseum would be the lack of air conditioning if in fact the go ahead was given in late May or early June.
The Superior Propane Centre which houses four NHL size rinks has played host to NHL teams in the past.
One team could use the Avenir Centre and the other could use the 4-Plex or the Coliseum.
Saint John, Bathurst, Charlottetown, Cape Breton and Halifax could all be logical destinations for several NHL teams, especially those in areas where the virus has unfortunately and sadly hit the hardest.
The TD Station, in Saint John, the Q Plex, in Quispamsis, the KC Irving Regional Centre in Bathurst, Centre 200 in Cape Breton and the East Link Centre in Charlottetown would all be great venues for NHL teams to hold mini camps.
Is the ice still in?
Well I’m sure if an NHL team came calling that would certainly be looked after almost instantly, plus a lot of these venues will all but be vacant due to event and CHL cancellations.
As of right now, knocking on wood of course New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island has faired decently well with regards to COVID-19 cases, but that can all change very quickly.
Sadly that can’t be said about Nova Scotia, with their number of confirmed cases still on the rise.
It’s still very early in all of this and the frightening uncertainty of this pandemic still exists.
Speculating that if the current trend continues in the weeks and perhaps months ahead the Maritimes would be an excellent option for NHL teams in large American markets.
Every one of the Maritime cities mentioned have QMJHL teams.
Team resources and essential staff members all live locally and would be available to help lend a hand to any stripped down NHL team with logistical concerns.
Obviously all workouts and team related functions would be closed to the public during their training camps and time here across the Maritimes.
We all know the game of hockey doesn’t matter right now.
The world has changed.
The hockey world has changed.
That’s our freighting reality.
Obviously a lot would have to change in the up coming weeks for the NHL to even consider getting team’s back together and coming north of the border.
There’s a strong sense that every option is on the table to ensure the completion the 2019-2020 season to ensure a Stanley Cup Champion is crowded.
Neutral site venues have been reported and discussed throughout this unprecedented pause.
So why not neutral site venues to ensure a safe return to training camp?
The Maritime provinces are world famous for our hospitality and our hockey crazed way of life.
By the way three out of the four teams mentioned all have players from this region.
Is it far fetched to speculate, of course.
Will it ever happen, probably not.
At this point everything has changed, but every option has to be considered.
If I were a GM of NHL team I would like to be able to take my team to a place with very low numbers of confirmed cases of the virus, be able to have full access to a building, access to accommodations that have been throughly cleaned and basically empty for several months.
NHL teams would no doubt hire local restauranteurs to privately cater for their team’s while in the Maritimes.
The epicentre of the hockey world in the weeks and perhaps months ahead may very well be the Maritimes, only time will tell
Until then, stay safe, social distance and pray for the end of this unimaginable terrifying pandemic.