UPDATE 4:45pm: The Toronto mayor’s office clarified the ban to TSN radio, indicating that it does not include sporting events, only “city events and event permits.”
4:00pm: As mentioned in the earlier story about the NHL extending their period of self-isolation for players and team staff, even April 15th—the new end date the league announced—seems very aggressive given the much longer bans that states, provinces, and cities have already instituted. This afternoon Toronto, one of the league’s biggest markets, announced a ban on all public events through June 30th. That would seemingly include playoff hockey games, making it quite difficult to resume any action that includes the Maple Leafs in the next three months.
While there could be ways around a ban like this for regular season games—neutral venue sites could potentially be used—it’s hard to see a world where the Maple Leafs would be forced to play playoff contests somewhere else. Revenue from the playoffs in the league’s big markets is crucial, especially so in a season cut short. At this point, fans can only wait and see what happens, but the NHL season is just getting further and further away.
- Another major market that has already lost an NHL event is Montreal, where the Canadiens were stripped of the 2020 Entry Draft—or at least the full scale of it. Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic reports that Montreal can expect to have a full draft either in 2021 or 2022, though there is another interesting option for next year. LeBrun tweets that the new Seattle franchise has shown interest in trying to bring the entry draft in next season to pair with the expansion draft, though it isn’t clear if it will be feasible at this point.
- Among all the disruptions and distractions, it’s sometimes hard to find any good news these days. Alex Pietrangelo of the St. Louis Blues gave us some of that today, when he told reporters including Dan Rosen of NHL.com that teammate Jay Bouwmeester is doing well in his recovery from a cardiac episode he suffered in February. The Blues captain noted that teammates have checked in on Bouwmeester and that he has seen him walking about their shared neighborhood recently.