In Canada, hockey transcends everything — even the rules a prime minister has to live by.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has doggedly stuck to border restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic, including a measure to set up quarantine hotels, where air travelers are required to stay when they first arrive.
However, the government is now giving an exemption to NHL teams, allowing them to go back and forth between Canada and the US during the remainder of the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Photo: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY
The announcement means the Canadian team that makes it to the league’s semi-finals would be able to play games in its home arena. Players and team staff would have to remain in a bubble and avoid contact with the general public.
“The NHL’s COVID Playoff Protocol will permit cross-border travel that is safeguarded by strict quarantining, a bubble, daily testing and a comprehensive protocol that will apply to all traveling NHL players and personnel,” Alexander Cohen, a spokesperson for Canadian Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Marco Mendicino, said in an e-mailed statement on Sunday.
It represents a first move in reopening the border and a privilege that has yet to be given to other sports.
Baseball’s Toronto Blue Jays are playing their home games in Buffalo, New York, while the Toronto Raptors basketball team endured a miserable season playing in Tampa, Florida. Professional soccer clubs from Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver have had to temporarily set up in the US to play in Major League Soccer.
Canada’s border with the US, the world’s longest, has been closed to most nonessential travel since March last year. When people do cross into Canada, they are supposed to quarantine for two weeks. Trudeau himself plans to quarantine when he returns from the G7 leaders summit in the UK.
All season long, Canada’s seven NHL teams have played only among themselves in a separate North Division to avoid travel into the US. Two rounds of playoff hockey would produce one Canadian team to compete in the last four.
The storied Montreal Canadiens — the second most successful franchise in North American major sports, after the New York Yankees — are leading the Winnipeg Jets 3-0 in a series to determine which club moves on to play a US rival.
Taiwan on Monday lost their seventh consecutive qualifying match for next year’s FIFA World Cup in Qatar, falling 1-5 to Australia in Kuwait. The loss means that Taiwan will finish last in the five-team Group B with one match left to play in the second round of Asian qualifiers on Tuesday next week against Kuwait. Australia lead the group with six straight wins and appear certain to clinch the top spot and an automatic berth in the next qualification round. Taiwan head coach Henry Von said his team showed fighting spirit against the group’s best team, improving from their 0-2
OPPORTUNITY: After winning a Symetra Tour title last month, Lee was in position to become the first to follow a Symetra victory with an LPGA Tour win in her next start Taiwan’s Min Lee on Saturday capped a stellar outing by rolling in a 15-foot putt for a birdie on 18 to grab a two-shot lead heading into the final round of the LPGA Mediheal Championship. Lee birdied three of her final four holes, including the par-five 18th, for a four-under-par 68 and a total of nine-under 207. “I just tried to play my game and tried to be smart on the golf course, because the golf course is very hard,” Lee said. “There are some pin placement that you want to be on the fat side of the green if you miss
Shohei Ohtani on Tuesday hit the longest homer of his major league career in the first inning, and the surging Los Angeles Angels pounded a season-high five homers in an 8-1 victory over the Kansas City Royals. Ohtani’s 17th homer of the season was a 470-foot (143.25m) shot deep into the outfield bleachers off Kansas City starter Kris Bubic (1-1). Angels manager Joe Maddon, who first arrived at Angel Stadium in 1994 as a coach, had never seen anything like it. “That’s the farthest ball I’ve ever seen hit here,” Maddon said. “I’ve never seen one hit there before... It has an impact
Naomi Osaka on Monday pulled out of next week’s Berlin WTA 500 grasscourt tournament, raising doubts about the four-times Grand Slam champion’s participation at Wimbledon later this month. The decision comes after Japanese world No. 2 Osaka pulled out of the French Open last week on mental health grounds. “We have received notification Naomi Osaka cannot start in Berlin. After consulting her management, she will take a break,” Berlin organizers said in a statement ahead of the event which begins on Monday. Osaka has not revealed when she plans to play next, casting doubt on her participation at Wimbledon, which starts on June