Last week it was reported by many Canadian media outlets that Winnipeg would unlikely be considered as a host city if the National Hockey League returns this summer. Yes, we know Winnipeg is not a prime destination for people to spend their time and is not normally near the top of choices when NHL players choose a city to play in when they are free agents.
However, for this summer, Winnipeg’s Bell MTS Place should be at the top of the NHL’s list of places to play if they decide to resume. The reason? Just take a look at the current coronavirus cases. There are currently only 268 cases of coronavirus in the province of Manitoba and six deaths.
The reason why Winnipeg is not considered and has been removed from the “list of re-start sites” is because “various ‘infrastructure’ issues make the Manitoba capital unsuitable,” according to Paul Friesen of the Winnipeg Sun.
I’m sorry, but NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman should not be very picky and choosy at the moment. If the NHL really wants to finish their regular season and playoffs in NHL arenas, they cannot be too concerned about finding a high number of five-star hotels nearby. There are a large number of four-star hotels and even high-quality motels in Manitoba that should be adequate enough.
According to Friesen, Economic Development Winnipeg President and Chief Executive Officer Dayna Spiring believes Winnipeg is indeed at a disadvantage from a hotel perspective. Accommodating four to six teams should not be a problem in Winnipeg. The issue according to Spiring is if you get to the eight-team range. However one must realize some teams may not be in Winnipeg for more than a couple of weeks as they finish the regular season. A medium rated accommodation should be adequate if there is proper sanitizing ad health protocols in place.
As coronavirus is hammering the United States, the NHL needs to seriously look at Winnipeg as a venue to finish its season. As there are plans to reopen Manitoba as early as next week, the NHL needs to do intense studies regarding having many of their games in one of the safest regions in North America at the moment.