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Cross-border travel approved for NHL. Semifinal games will take place in Canada
US-Canada Border Travel Approved for Remainder of Stanley Cup Playoffs
The News: In preparation for the Stanley Cup semifinals, the Canadian government has issued an exemption to NHL teams for cross-border travel during the final two rounds of the playoffs.
With guidance from federal, provincial, and municipal health authorities, this exemption was approved by Immigration Minister, Marco Mendicino, as being in Canada’s “national interest.” Under this exemption, the teams involved in the matchup will be subject to enhanced protocols, including a modified quarantine and limits to public exposure and interaction. This is the third special exemption made for the NHL, after the Canadian government allowed players and staff to return to Canada for training camps in December and decreased the quarantine requirement from 14 to seven days before the trade deadline this April.
The Rules: In addition to all current protocols, NHL players and team personnel participating in the series are required to complete pre-departure, post-arrival, and daily COVID-19 tests, as well as travel into and out of Canada via a private plane. After arriving in Canada, individuals from the US team will be required to remain in a modified quarantine bubble, which is limited to the arena and designated hotels. Rules also forbid interaction with the general public and the Canadian government states it “will not hesitate to take further public health measures where necessary.”
The Semifinal Series: The teams involved in the semifinal will be the Montreal Canadiens and the winner of the Colorado Avalanche-Vegas Golden Knights series. This will pair a team with the lowest playoff-qualifying point total against a team tied for first in the league.
So far, attendance has been limited in Canada, with only 2,500 fans having been allowed in Montreal. In Colorado, 10,500 fans have been allowed (moving to full capacity should they proceed), while Vegas has already moved to full capacity.