Canada Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has warned NHL players they’ll have to follow strict guidelines before the season can resume.
In a press briefing on Sunday, Trudeau told reporters that any foreign players returning to Canada would face quarantine periods when they arrived. Canada’s border with the United States has been closed to all non-essential travel since mid-March.
“I think it’s a question we’ll have to look into,” he said. “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 NHL allowed its players to return home, including to countries overseas, when it paused the season on March 12.
Several possibilities have been discussed regarding plans to finish the 2019-20 season. The league is currently listening to bids from possible “hub cities” in each division that could host games to help finish the regular season. Two Canadian cities, Toronto and Edmonton, are among the rumored frontrunners.
Regardless of how it gets done, the NHL has been adamant about finishing the current campaign. In a joint statement with the NHLPA on Wednesday, the league said the current timeline was to have players return to team facilities for small training sessions by mid-to-late May.
However, they noted that no specific dates have been set and they will continue to monitor the situation.