Canucks announce Vancouver won’t be chosen as NHL hub city

The Vancouver Canucks announced Thursday the city was out of the running as a hub for the NHL’s return.

The decision from the league means Toronto and Edmonton are the lone Canadian cities remaining in contention to host the NHL’s Stanley Cup tournament.

“We sincerely thank Premier [John] Horgan, Minister [Lisa] Beare, Dr. Bonnie Henry and their teams for their incredible support as we worked through the opportunity to host NHL teams in Vancouver,” the Canucks tweeted.

“Now we look forward and are very excited to welcome our Canucks players back for training camp at Rogers Arena in the coming weeks. An exciting finish to the season is just around the corner, and we can’t wait to drop the puck.”

Horgan said he was disappointed by the news, but wouldn’t bend public health rules for the NHL.

“Protecting the health and safety of people in BC is our number one priority,” he tweeted.

Dr. Henry echoed those sentiments at a news conference before the team made its announcement, saying public health was her main focus.

“I’ve not had direct conversations with the NHL,” she said. “What we provided was our advice and basically the fact that we would take the health of our players and the health of our province as the primary concern in terms of having the NHL play in Vancouver.”

Under B.C.’s plan, a team would have stayed in one hotel and travelled together to Rogers Arena for games using private transportation. Each team would also be responsible for any COVID-19 testing and agree not to interact with the public during a 14-day isolation period.

Horgan previously expressed hope that B.C.’s plan would give Vancouver an economic boost.

Previously, Pittsburgh and Columbus announced their bids had also been denied, while the same was reported for Dallas and Minneapolis/St. Paul.

Remaining American cities in contention include Las Vegas, Los Angeles and Chicago.

Earlier Thursday, British Columbia’s health minister, Adrian Dix, was asked about media reports that there was a breakdown with the league over Vancouver being a hub city.

Dix told a news conference that B.C.’s hard line on rules to protect people from getting the novel coronavirus is the reason Vancouver should be a hub city.

He said he supported the idea of hockey being played again in Vancouver, but he’s also the health minister and the rules that have contained the spread of COVID-19 apply to all.

WATCH | Picking hub cities is no easy task:

While the NHL tries to narrow down the list of hub cities from ten to two, Rob Pizzo looks at the problems they face. 3:00

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