Earlier today, the Toronto Raptors announced that they will begin the upcoming NBA season in Tampa after their request to play at their home arena was denied by the Canadian government. Because of the travel restrictions between the U.S. and Canada, it always seemed impossible for the Raptors—the league’s lone Canadian franchise—to be hosting American-based teams in Toronto. A long quarantine is still required when you enter the country, meaning the logistics of holding NBA games was going to be incredibly difficult.
In the NHL, however, there may be a way around those difficulties. The league includes seven Canadian-based teams, meaning they could play each other in a realigned divisional structure to start the regular season. The seven teams are based all across the country, but would theoretically not need to quarantine between cities—though this is certainly not a guarantee, especially given Toronto’s increased restrictions today.
The idea of an All-Canadian division has been speculated about since the beginning of the offseason, with the general consensus being it would be necessary to get through the 2020-21 season. Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton, and Vancouver would be battling it out to be “King in the North.”