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

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

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.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 27, 2020.

___

Follow @JClipperton_CP on Twitter

Joshua Clipperton, The Canadian Press

NHL

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

Just Posted

COVID
Red Deer down to 313 active cases of COVID-19

Alberta reports an additional 411 COVID-19 cases

Seniors in the 65-unit Piper Creek Lodge are among those waiting for COVID-19 vaccinations. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Central Alberta senior lodges anxiously waiting for COVID-19 vaccinations

“Should be at the front of the line, not the back of the line”

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Alex Panetta
Economists “cautiously hopeful” for economic recovery in Alberta

Charles St. Arnaud says Alberta’s recovery will rebound along with roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccine

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw acknowledged that Friday would be one year since the first case of COVID-19 was identified in the province. (photography by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Three more Red Deer COVID-19 deaths, 331 active cases in Alberta

Red Deer is down to 362 active cases of the virus

Caitlin Kraft, the sister of Jeffery Kraft, stands third from the left, holding a sign calling for the maximum sentence for Campbell, who is charged with manslaughter. (Photo by Paul Cowley)
UPDATED: Judge again rejects submission of 7-year sentence for slaying of Kraft

Tyler John Campbell charged with second-degree murder for December 2019 homicide

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

Supporters rally outside court as Pastor James Coates of GraceLife Church is in court to appeal bail conditions, after he was arrested for holding day services in violation of COVID-19 rules, in Edmonton, Alta., on Thursday March 4, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
‘Law remains valid:’ Pastor accused of violating health orders to remain in jail

The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms is representing the pastor

A decommissioned pumpjack is shown at a well head on an oil and gas installation near Cremona, Alta., Saturday, Oct. 29, 2016. The Alberta Energy Regulator says it is suspending all of the licences held by an oil and gas producer with more than 2,200 wells and 2,100 pipelines after it failed to bring its operations into compliance. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Alberta Energy Regulator suspends licences of oil and gas producer that owes $67M

The company is being asked to comply with past orders to clean up historic spills and contamination

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau holds a press conference in Ottawa Friday, March 5, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Trudeau holds firm on premiers’ health-care funding demands, COVID-19 aid comes first

Premiers argue that the current amount doesn’t keep pace with yearly cost increases of about five per cent

Pictured here is Stettler’s Jenner Smith with a guide dog from Aspen Service Dogs. An online auction will be running soon to help raise funds for Jenner to receive his very own service dog later this year. Jenner, who is four years old, was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder in 2019. photo submitted
An online auction is planned to raise funds for a service dog for a Stettler family

Jenner Smith, four, was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder in 2019

Walter Gretzky father of hockey hall-of-famer Wayne Gretzky waves to fans as the Buffalo Sabres play against the Toronto Maple Leafs during third period NHL hockey action in Toronto on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky, father of the Great One, dies at 82

Canada’s hockey dad had battled Parkinson’s disease and other health issues

This Dec. 2, 2020 photo provided by Johnson & Johnson shows vials of its Janssen subsidiary’s COVID-19 vaccine in the United States. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Johnson & Johnson via AP
Canada approves Johnson & Johnson’s 1-shot COVID-19 vaccine

It is the 4th vaccine approved in Canada and the 1st that requires just a single dose

Most Read