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A Possible February Start?

from Ben Kuzma of the Vancouver Province,

A strong second infection waive of the worldwide pandemic virus has Canadian health officials pondering the viability of professional indoor sports leagues introducing a slow transition to fans, especially if COVID fatigue and community spread in the winter months threatens to overwhelm and contaminate arenas....

Dr. Brian Conway is president and medical director of the Vancouver Infectious Diseases Centre. He’s also a Vancouver Canucks season-ticket subscriber and a voice of reason in monitoring the physical and mental health of the local populace.

On Monday, he was also asked to play NHL owner.

Combining a passion for his profession and enthusiasm for attending hockey games, he gave a somewhat sobering assessment. The NHL wants an 82-game schedule, but COVID concerns and broadcast partner NBC being committed to the rescheduled Tokyo Summer Olympics will likely mean a contracted schedule and more significant revenues losses in an attempt to award the Stanley Cup by July 18. The Olympics commence July 23.

Like other NHL franchises, the Canucks have a plan to start next season with no fans at Rogers Arena and then slowly transition to patrons as COVID concerns ease. That’s the hope. Relentlessness of the virus is the reality.

“Right now, from a public-health point of view which goes into all of our decision-making, I do not see a start until the beginning of February, and the fact (is) we’re only worrying about Canada,” said Dr. Conway. “I can’t speak for the United States. American authorities in place have no interest in mitigating the pandemic. The considerations would be three-fold:

read on

Filed in: NHL Talk, | KK Hockey | Permalink


Red Winger's avatar

American authorities in place have no interest in mitigating the pandemic

I would have a lot of confidence in a doctor who makes such sweeping generalizations

Posted by Red Winger from Sault Ste Marie, MI on 10/27/20 at 09:03 AM ET

Steeb's avatar

Posted by Red Winger

Handsome is as handsome does, I say. The US has the highest number of cases and deaths of any country in the world, and it’s not close. Last I saw, there are 8 (eight) countries in the world where Americans either have to undergo 14 day quarantine or aren’t allowed in at all.

Posted by Steeb on 10/27/20 at 11:32 AM ET


Yeah just ignore per capita info only when convenient. Let alone testing stats. Your bias shows anytime you cherry pick. It’s a cluster everywhere. Virus gonna virus.

Posted by bizuce on 10/27/20 at 01:16 PM ET

shazam88's avatar

Yeah just ignore per capita info only when convenient. Let alone testing stats. Your bias shows anytime you cherry pick. It’s a cluster everywhere. Virus gonna virus.

Posted by bizuce on 10/27/20 at 01:16 PM ET

“Virus gonna virus” is clearly the mentality within the WH itself, where it’s done a mighty fine job of spreading. Going for a joyride in the midst of treatment at the hospital is 100% indefensible.

Per capita…
27,080 cases per million in the US versus 5,866 per M in Canada.
698 deaths per million in the US versus 264 per M in Canada.

Posted by shazam88 from SoCal on 10/27/20 at 01:24 PM ET

Steeb's avatar

Yeah just ignore per capita info only when convenient. Let alone testing stats. Your bias shows anytime you cherry pick. It’s a cluster everywhere. Virus gonna virus.

Posted by bizuce

Look at the numbers for yourself.


The US has more cases and deaths than any other country, incl places like India, which has 4 times the US population, and roughly half as many deaths.

Posted by Steeb on 10/27/20 at 01:50 PM ET


I dont do political talk.  Just wanted to point out the I HIGHLY doubt indian citizens are social distancing and wearing masks.  Have you ever been?  Maybe there are less A bloodtypes as it seems to target us the hardest.  Maybe they have less accurate reporting measures or resources to report cases.

Either way, I just wish theyd leave the “spins” out of hockey articles, one eay or the other.  Just facts and hockey.

Posted by ThatGuy on 10/27/20 at 02:21 PM ET

Steeb's avatar

Posted by ThatGuy

You’ll pardon me if I don’t take your “high doubts” as gospel. All I know is the numbers. The US has roughly twice the number of cases as a (often viewed as a 3rd-world) country that has 4 times the population.

And it’s not “spin”. He’s talking about when it may be reasonable to expect the season to start, and the debacle that’s happening in the US is a HUGE factor in deciding when that will be. Sports don’t happen in a vacuum. And this isn’t even political, it’s reality. Americans can’t even enter Canada without 2 weeks of quarantine right now and for the foreseeable future. That’s hardly conducive to holding a season, or even trying to schedule one right now.


Posted by Steeb on 10/27/20 at 02:39 PM ET

MurrayChadwick's avatar

“Virus gonna virus” I’m going to steal that, its true.  We can try to minimize the spread as much as possible, and we should, to be clear, we should, and take extra steps to protect at risk population,  but there’s no stopping it, the efforts need to be into the therapeutics to treat it and vaccines. 

Reality is that we’re more comparable to Europe in population, density, etc. and cases are way up and they supposedly did everything “right” including testing, tracing, masking, etc.

Most of the other non-westernized countries don’t test or don’t report not worth mentioning. 

Political people want to compare us to New Zeeland that’s an island, or Canada but we’re the same geographical size but have 10x the people (density), 10x the GDP, 10x the travel, and 1 border that is easily closed. etc

Hockey should start on the revised timeline they sent out, they can do so without fans to start.

Posted by MurrayChadwick from YzerHolland2.0's pixie dust fueled bandwagon on 10/27/20 at 04:15 PM ET


Stating the US has no interest in containing the virus is the spin.

Posted by ThatGuy on 10/27/20 at 07:00 PM ET

d ca's avatar

U of M hospital Ann Arbor ICU:

2 weeks ago: 5 patients with COVID in intensive care
1 week ago: 15 patients
Last night: 25 patients

Anyone thinking we are turning a corner is lying. These aren’t totals they are the worst of the worst cases.

The numbers of ventilators may have increased—but the # of doctors, PA’s, LPN’s, RN’s, and tech’s has decreased. ER staff took a 30% pay cut to avoid layoffs and they still cut tech’s. Scheduling is stressed and a new system is causing issues and that’s before the expected flood of patients expected in the near future.

No, we are interested in mitigating—in fact we are laying off staff and have a hiring freeze.

And I am sick of those idiots that refuse to do all they can so my family isn’t at risk from people coming in to the hospital and putting people I know and love at risk.

So let’s knock off the comments where we are pretending to do anything to mitigate the risk.

Posted by d ca on 10/27/20 at 07:32 PM ET

Royal Grand Exalted PooBah's avatar

I think the season can start as soon as the league can acquire enough doses of vaccine to cover each team. Its also going to depend on the TV contracts and the Olympics. Its only the playoffs that NBC would have a real issue covering if they were played at the same time as the Olympics. Regular season games can be off loaded to the regular channels.

Posted by Royal Grand Exalted PooBah from the basement of the Alamo on 10/27/20 at 08:28 PM ET


Maybe you live in a bad community d ca.  My community is thoughtful of eachother.  And theyve left it to states to manage as is their governmental righy, the reason weve had all these agencies for all these years recieving all these tax dollars.  So i take offence to broad strokes meant to take political shots when it actuality our system of government was built this way for decades.

But I understand this is some peoples chance at the soapbox.  Some people dont live in communities that work together and that can be scary and make people angry and you need a place to get it out.  I had to leave my job at a large bank because of people coming to work with both possible and confirmed covid.  Were all friends here at the end of the day or at least share a bond.

Posted by ThatGuy on 10/27/20 at 09:38 PM ET


The comment in the article about American authorities having no interest in mitigating the risk is completely on target if it’s referring to the federal government.  Mark Meadows, Trump’s Chief of staff, admitted as much a few days ago on national TV, so the people pretending otherwise are just trying to spin the whole thing, because criticizing Dear Leader in any way shape or form is unacceptable to them. There is no limit to the amount of mental gymnastics that they will do in defense of Dear Leader, and facts have no bearing on their views.  They believe what Dear Leader tells them to believe, nothing more, nothing less.  You can’t reason with an empty vessel.

Posted by MikeO on 10/28/20 at 06:15 PM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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