Edmonton could be the host of the 2020 NHL playoffs and Jason Kenney is all for it. On Tuesday, May 26, the National Hockey League (NHL) announced that Edmonton is one of ten contenders to host the season playoffs. Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, as a result, is now asking the Prime Minister not to mess up the chances of Edmonton playoffs.
In a public address, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman revealed that Edmonton, Vancouver, and Toronto are the three Canadian cities being considered as hub cities for the playoffs.
Oilers' Entertainment Group (OEG), the owner of the Edmonton Oilers hockey team, has made a bid to host the playoffs. But the bid depends on whether athletes from the States would actually be allowed to fly into Canada.
There is still a border closure in place between Canada and the U.S.
That means that Americans who don't have Canadian citizenship or permanent residence are not allowed into the country.
But Jason Kenney is begging to have foreign athletes exempted from this rule. In a letter sent to Prime Minister Trudeau, provided to Narcity by Kenney's office, the Premier laid down his requests.
He said that the U.S. government has enforced a rule that allows the entry of foreign professional athletes into the States.
"Such an exemption from the Canadian government would be necessary to enable the OEG bid to play host to the NHL playoffs," read the letter.
"Prime Minister, I believe the NHL playoffs could play a key part in the economic relaunch of Alberta," the letter read.
Jason Kenney also discussed how Alberta, and Edmonton in particular, have made strides in controlling the COVID-19 pandemic since the relaunch.
The premier said that Edmonton has some of the lowest levels of active COVID-19 cases amongst North American cities of similar size and population density.
"New COVID-19 cases in Edmonton are averaging one per day, with recovered cases far outweighing new infections," added Kenney.
Plus, Edmonton's infrastructure built around the Oilers' stadium would add a measure of public safety.
"A number of hotels directly connect to Rogers Place via secure pedways, and therefore an effective quarantine zone could be established," he said.
According to Bettman, the cities chosen to host the NHL playoffs will need to meet requirements like COVID-19 conditions, testing available, and government regulation.
Kenney said, "Alberta's comprehensive and effective testing provides an additional advantage for protecting public safety and monitoring of COVID-19."
So it seems that Alberta has got the first two requirements covered, but it's the last one that's got Kenney reaching out to Trudeau.
Ultimately, it's still Trudeau's final call whether Edmonton can welcome foreign players for the playoffs if they do get select as a hub city.