NHL players start their adjustment to hub life in Edmonton, Toronto

NHL players start their adjustment to hub life in Edmonton, Toronto

NHL players settled into Edmonton and Toronto on Monday for what will be the mother of all road trips for some.

Meanwhile, the Maple Leafs and Oilers are now ensconced in hotels in their home cities.

“Obviously it is a little weird being home, but being in a hotel instead of your house,” Leafs forward Mitch Marner said during a media video conference call.

Almost 800 players and dozens more team staff have embarked on the completion of a 2019-20 season suspended on March 12 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A best-of-five qualifying round starts Saturday at Edmonton’s Rogers Place and Toronto’s Scotiabank Arena.

If the virus doesn’t derail the NHL’s plans, two teams could be playing in the Stanley Cup final as late as Oct. 4 in Edmonton.

The 24 teams in Cup contention got a first taste Monday of what moving between hotels and arenas entails, and what extended hotel living will look like.

“I think today is the day that a lot of these questions get answered,” Winnipeg Jets head coach Paul Maurice said.

“And that’s how do you move an NHL team through its day in the situation that we’re in? By the time we’re done our day here, we’ll have a pretty good handle on how this is all going to work.”

Playing hockey — albeit in front of empty seats — might be the easiest adjustment for those whom the sport is second nature.

Navigating life off the ice requires greater adaptation.

Daily testing, wearing masks and credentials, swapping dressing rooms, how they’ll eat meals and occupy their time between games were all new habits to be established.

“We don’t get to grab our own food. That’s a little different, being served,” Jets forward Adam Lowry said.

“You know you’re going to be here hopefully for a while, (so) just to get used to some of the protocols, wearing a mask and make sure you’ve got your credentials on.

“Some of the things you fill out before you enter the rink, that’s going to take a couple days to get used to, but that’s not anything that’s too drastic.”

The NHL’s hub-city concept is designed to wall off players and staff from the general public to prevent contagion.

The league said no players tested positive for the virus in the final week of training camp July 18-25, which is in stark contrast to Major League Baseball’s resumption of the season.

Monday’s Miami Marlins home-opener was cancelled due to a number of players testing positive for COVID-19.

“Getting everyone here was probably the biggest stress point of this whole thing,” Oilers goaltender Mike Smith said. “There were no positive tests here in the last week or so, so that’s important.

“As players I think we feel pretty safe where we’re at right now.”

Players’ hotel room doors are adorned with their respective teams’ logos.

“You’ve got to make your little one-bedroom apartment here for the next couple months as homey as you can,” Nashville Predators defenceman Matthias Ekholm said.

The Predators and Calgary Flames arranged to have family photos in each player’s hotel room upon arrival.

“They must have skipped my room,” quipped Winnipeg’s Adam Lowry.

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

Follow @DLSpencer10 on Twitter

Donna Spencer, The Canadian Press

NHL

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

Just Posted

cat
Spirit’s Respite Ranch near Stettler provides support through animal interaction

‘I also come from a family of doers - if something that is needed isn’t there, you just figure it out’

SARS-CoV-2 virus particles, which causes COVID-19, emerge from the surface of cells isolated from a patient in the U.S. and cultured in a lab in a 2020 electron microscope image. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-HO, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases - Rocky Mountain Laboratories
Alberta now has 17,743 active cases of COVID-19

Province now has 17,743 active cases

town
Town of Castor meeting highlights from the Nov. 23rd meeting

Castor’s town council has approved an interim budget going into 2021

county
The County of Paintearth Council has approved the 2021 operational and capital budgets

Capital spending approved for 2021 amounts to just over $3.8 million

Idyllic winter scenes are part of the atmosphere of the holiday season, and are depicted in many seasonal movies. How much do you know about holiday movies? Put your knowledge to the test. (Pixabay.com)
QUIZ: Test your knowledge of holiday movies and television specials

The festive season is a time for relaxing and enjoying some seasonal favourites

Ten-month-old Aidan Deschamps poses for a photo with his parents Amanda Sully and Adam Deschamps in this undated handout photo. Ten-month-old Aidan Deschamps was the first baby in Canada to be diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy through Ontario’s newborn screening program. The test was added to the program six days before he was born. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Children’s Hospital Eastern Ontario *MANDATORY CREDIT*
First newborn tested for spinal muscular atrophy in Canada hits new milestones

‘If Aidan had been born any earlier or anywhere else our story would be quite different’

People line up at a COVID-19 assessment centre during the COVID-19 pandemic in Scarborough, Ont., on Wednesday, December 2, 2020. Toronto and Peel region continue to be in lockdown. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
COVID-19 vaccine approval could be days away as pressures mount on health-care system

Many health officials in regions across the country have reported increasing pressures on hospitals

File Photo
Sylvan Lake Town Council squashes mask bylaw

The bylaw did not make it past first reading, after a 4-3 vote defeated the motion

A logo for Netflix on a remote control is seen in Portland, Ore.,Aug. 13, 2020. Experts in taxation and media say a plan announced Monday by the government will ultimately add to the cost of digital services and goods sold by foreign companies. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Jenny Kane
‘Netflix tax’ for digital media likely to raise prices for consumers, experts say

The government says Canadian companies already collect those taxes when they make digital sales

Gaming content was big on YouTube in 2020. (Black Press Media files)
What did Canadians watch on Youtube during isolation? Workouts, bird feeders

Whether it was getting fit or ‘speaking moistly,’ Canadians had time to spare this year

A teacher places the finishing touches on the welcome sign at Hunter’s Glen Junior Public School which is part of the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) during the COVID-19 pandemic in Scarborough, Ont., on Sept. 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Hindsight 2020: How do you preserve a year many Canadians would rather forget?

Figuring out how to preserve the story of the pandemic poses a series of challenges

Team Manitoba celebrate after defeating Team Ontario to win the Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Moose Jaw, Sask., Sunday, Feb. 23, 2020. Curling Canada wants Calgary’s Canada Olympic Park to be a curling hub for the season’s top events. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Calgary facility set to become curling hub during pandemic

Curling Canada has provisional approval for Calgary’s hub-city concept from Alberta Health

Most Read