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NHL would need to follow quarantine rules before season could resume: Trudeau

The NHL could face another hurdle if the league determines to continue the 2019-20 season in the near future — getting non-Canadian resident players across the border to join their respective teams.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stated Sunday that players would — at a minimum — need to follow quarantine protocols if they were to arrive in Canada while the border stays closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“I think it’s a question we’ll have to look into,” Trudeau said in a press briefing. “Certainly at a strict minimum, anyone who arrives from another country will have to follow all the rules of quarantine in an extremely strict manner, but we’re not there yet in our discussions with the NHL.”

“We recognize that it’s a possibility, but it depends on an enormous amount of things, and I don’t want to speculate on this until there’s more discussion.”

The Associated Press reported earlier this week that Edmonton and Toronto were being looked at as feasible “hockey pod” cities that could host the remainder of the NHL season during the summer months.

Games would be played in air-conditioned arenas without fans.

A person familiar with negotiations told The Associated Press that the most aggressive timetable would have players returning to their home rinks as early as May 15, followed by a training camp and possible exhibition games in June.

Under that timeline, the regular season would resume in July with the Stanley Cup final likely stretching into September.

The league and NHL Players’ Association have formed a joint committee to determine a path forward that could get games back on the ice sometime in July without fans.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman stated recently that no decisions have been made and noted that government and medical officials will in the end make the call on when sports can return.

As of early April, eight NHL players had tested positive for COVID-19, including five players on the Ottawa Senators.

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