(The Canadian Press)

(The Canadian Press)

Canucks GM says team could hold camp in U.S. due to Canada’s quarantine rules

The NHL, which paused the season March 12, is hoping it can move to Phase 2 of its return-to-play plan

Jim Benning says his team might take its show on the road — south of the border.

The general manager of the Vancouver Canucks hinted on a conference call with reporters Wednesday that if the NHL continues to trend towards resuming the 2019-20 season this summer, the club might hold training camp in the United States because of Canada’s mandatory 14-day quarantine upon arrival for all non-essential workers.

“It’s a big concern,” Benning said. ”We worry about it because that’s 14 days before we’re going to start a gruelling training camp and get into playing playoff-style games. Basically we’re telling our players that they’ve gotta sit around their homes or apartments and they can’t do the type of training that they need.

“I know that government officials are looking at it and we don’t like it, but we understand that we need to do what’s right for everybody involved and for the safety of people … that’s going to trump everything else.”

As it stands, a number of Canucks would have to adhere to Canada’s quarantine in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Starting goalie Jacob Markstrom and star centre Elias Pettersson have been home in Sweden, backup netminder Thatcher Demko in California, and sniper Brocker Boeser in Minnesota.

The NHL, which paused the season March 12 amid the novel coronavirus outbreak, is hoping it can move to Phase 2 of its return-to-play plan early next month with voluntary skates and workouts for small groups of players under strict health and safety guidelines. If all goes well, Phase 3 would see training camps start sometime after July 1, with Phase 4 being a return to game action later that month or in early August.

Under the 24-club framework announced by the league Tuesday, the Canucks would face Minnesota in the best-of-five qualifying round for a right to make the 16-team playoffs

“We’ve talked about it,” Benning said about a camp in the U.S. ”But we just want to give it a few more days to see if something is going to change.

“In the perfect scenario, we’d like to use our facilities.”

Vancouver, Edmonton and Toronto were officially named as three of 10 potential hub cities in the running to host 12 teams if the NHL resumes this summer, but NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said after the NHL unveiled its return-to-play framework that current border restrictions make using Canadian markets a non-starter.

“If we’re not able to really get an interpretation of the quarantine consistent with our players ability to travel in and not have to do a strict self-quarantine in a hotel room … we won’t be in a position to use any of the Canadian cities as a hub city,” Daly said. ”So we’re faced with having to find a solution to that. And hopefully we can.”

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney penned a letter Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Wednesday in hopes of getting professional athletes and team staff classified as essential workers, similar to a move made by the U.S. government last week.

British Columbia Premier John Horgan, who has also been vocal in his support of Vancouver as a hub, was more measured in response to a question about the issue.

“We have rules in place today that we worked very hard to establish,” Horgan said. ”Because the NHL made an announcement that involved Vancouver, we’re not going to go rushing to change that. Two weeks from now, four weeks from now, it could be a completely different situation provided we continue to see the progress that we’ve seen.”

Winnipeg Jets centre and Michigan native Andrew Copp said Wednesday he won’t be returning to Canada during the voluntary Phase 2.

“I want to be on the ice, but the two-week quarantine will pretty much deter me from coming back until the start of training camp or until that gets lifted,” Copp said. “In the next week or two I might head down to Florida and start skating again because I need to be on the ice.

“That’s a total league problem … I don’t think it’s fair to ask the Canadian teams to have their players come sit in their apartments for two weeks and the American teams just get to Phase 2 and skate all day. I’m sure that competitive advantage will be discussed and figured out.”

Benning said he’s spoken to GMs of other Canadian franchises about the issue, but Winnipeg’s Kevin Cheveldayoff and Marc Bergevin of the Montreal Canadiens both indicated holding camps south of the border isn’t something they’re contemplating at the moment.

“It’s something that is out of our control,” Benning said. ”It’s a government rule that’s in place that we’re gonna listen to and adhere to.

“It’s not perfect, but we’re just gonna have to make the best of everything that’s going on and figure out a way through it and prepare the best we can.”

Joshua Clipperton, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Butter and sourdough bread is shown at a house in Vernon, B.C. on Wednesday, February 24, 2021. A Quebec dairy farmers’ group is calling on milk producers to stop feeding palm oil or its derivatives to livestock as controversy churns over how these supplements affect the consistency of butter. (THE CANADIAN PRESS - Jesse Johnston)
Poll: Care to spread your feelings on butter?

Reports of hard butter have rattled the Canadian dairy industry

A dose of COVID-19 vaccine is prepared at a vaccination clinic in Montreal’s Olympic Stadium on Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
39 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health region

The total number of cases in the region since the pandemic began is now at 7,334

Princeton has seen a 22 per cent drop in drug overdose fatalities in 2020. (File photo)
While B.C. overdose deaths soar, Princeton made a recovery in 2020

Between 2018 and 2020, eight Princeton residents died of suspected overdose.

Send your letter to the editor via email to news@summerlandreview.com. Please included your first and last name, address, and phone number.
LETTER: Options available for medical care

Telephone and online methods allow people to contact doctors

Youth from Vernon, Kelowna, Penticton and the Kootenays were able to dig into two evenings of online learning and connection through United Way Southern Interior B.C.’s <CODE>anagan program. (Submitted)<code> </code>
CODEanagan gives youth a chance to learn about technology

The youth, aged 12 to 21, built their own WordPress sites and developed blogging ideas

A health worker holds a vial of AstraZeneca vaccine to be administered to members of the police at a COVID-19 vaccination center in Mainz, Germany, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. The federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate, start with the vaccination of police officers in internal police vaccination centers. (Andreas Arnold/dpa via AP)
B.C. officials to unveil new details of COVID vaccination plan Monday

Seniors and health-care workers who haven’t gotten their shot are next on the list

An investigation is underway after a man was shot and killed by Tofino RCMP in Opitsaht. (Black Press Media file photo)
Man shot and killed by RCMP near Tofino, police watchdog investigating

Investigation underway by Independent Investigations Office of British Columbia.

B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver on Tuesday December 11, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C.’s compromise on in-person worship at three churches called ‘absolutely unacceptable’

Would allow outdoor services of 25 or less by Langley, Abbotsford and Chilliwack churches

Wills Hodgkinson, 10, and his mom Neeley Brimer get ready to battle round three of cancer. The community of Penticton has his back. (Submitted)
Community raises $21K to help Penticton boy battle third round of cancer

Okanoggin Barbers held the fundraiser on Saturday for 10-year-old Wills Hodgkinson

Baldy Mountain Resort was shut down on Saturday after a fatal workplace accident. (Baldy Mountain picture)
UPDATE: 70-year-old man killed in workplace accident at Baldy Mountain

The mountain closed on Saturday but has partially re-opened today (Sunday)

Jasmine and Gwen Donaldson are part of the CAT team working to reduce stigma for marginalized groups in Campbell River. Photo by Marc Kitteringham, Campbell River Mirror
Jasmine’s story: Stigma can be the hardest hurdle for those overcoming addiction

Recovering B.C. addict says welcome, connection and community key for rebuilding after drug habit

Chase RCMP held two men involved in drunken disturbances overnight in their detachment’s cells on Feb. 6. (File Photo)
Chase RCMP hold two men involved in drunken disturbances overnight

The two separate incidents took place less than an hour apart.

Kamloops Fire Rescue battled a landfill fire which belched toxic smoke into the air on Feb. 27. (City of Kamloops Photo)
Fire at Kamloops landfill sends thick black smoke into the air

Firefighters made slow progress on the fire throughout the morning.

A Vancouver restaurant owner was found guilty of violating B.C.’s Human Rights Code by discriminating against customers on the basis of their race. (Pixabay)
Vancouver restaurant owner ordered to pay $4,000 to customers after racist remark

Referring to patrons as ‘you Arabs’ constitutes discrimination under B.C.’s Human Rights Code, ruling deems

Most Read