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May 28, 2020

Alberta business leaders support Edmonton proposal to host 2020 NHL playoffs

ALBERTA – The Business Council of Alberta supports the proposal for Edmonton, Alberta to be one of the hub cities for the 2020 National Hockey League playoffs.

“We are all seeking some sense of normalcy, some return of those things that bring us joy,” says Adam Legge, President of the Business Council of Alberta. “This proposal is something that, done correctly, could bring a return of Canada’s most popular activity and a sense of pride in hosting some of the NHL here in Canada.”

The proposal, which has the support of the Edmonton Oilers hockey club, Government of Alberta, Chief Medical Officer, and now, the senior business leaders in Alberta, is a win-win.

“This isn’t an economic story so much as a people story,” says Legge. “It will have a modest economic impact; however, the boost to morale for Alberta may be immense. The people of Alberta could greatly use some positivity right now, and this could be exactly that thing.”

It would also be very positive for Canada’s brand generally to have at least one of the hub locations be a Canadian city.

There is one primary public policy hurdle for the bid to proceed which requires the cooperation of the federal government: a relaxing of the 14-day quarantine requirement for foreign professional athletes and associated personnel, based on strict health protocols.

The Business Council of Alberta asks the Government of Canada to work with Provincial health authorities to provide a reasonable exemption that would allow Edmonton, Alberta to be one of the host cities for the 2020 NHL Playoffs, based on approval of the province’s public health plans for that activity.

“Alberta is served by an exceptional Chief Medical Officer in Dr. Hinshaw who has reviewed this proposal, endorsed it, and provided guidance on how it can be done safely,” said Legge. “I have every confidence that with the NHL and its teams following her direction, Alberta can work with Canada’s public health authorities to reach a safe and effective solution that meets the needs of all.”

Edmonton is perfectly positioned to be this host city. Here are just a few reasons:

  • We have a very low incidence of COVID cases compared to most other North American cities of similar size.
  • The Alberta health care system is world-class and well-resourced, and hospitals are working with significant excess capacity.
  • We have a state-of-the-art entertainment venue, among the newest in the NHL.
  • A self-contained complex for hockey, athletics and hotels allow cohort quarantine to be more easily maintained.
  • We have a beautiful city to showcase in the summer and fall, benefiting the Alberta tourism brand.

“I see this also as a way we can energize that can-do spirit of Albertans through a little hockey in our provincial capital,” says Legge. “This is a virtually costless initiative for the people of Alberta. By following strict health requirements and isolation protocols, the activity would be self-contained, with limited to no interaction with Albertans or the spaces and places that Albertans use. No new facilities and no major expenses will be needed. Hotel utilization in the downtown area is currently low. The arena district is relatively self-contained. We’re talking about using existing, empty facilities that were designed exactly for this reason.”

“Go Oilers!” says Mike Holden, Vice President Policy and Chief Economist for the Business Council of Alberta.

“Go Flames, beat them in their own building,” says Scott Crockatt, Vice President Communications and External Relations for the Business Council of Alberta.

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