Photo: Mark Blinch/Getty Images
Toronto mayor John Tory announced that all events in the city through June 30 have been canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic on Tuesday after the NHL extended its self-quarantine date for players and staff through April 15.
“While the City recognizes the importance of special events and festivals to the livability and vitality of the city, protecting the health and safety of residents is of primary concern. City staff are working closely with event organizers to help mitigate the impacts of cancellations wherever possible and we look forward to Toronto’s festivals and events being featured prominently as part of the city’s recovery from the impact of COVID-19,” Mayor Tory said in a news release.
However, according to The Fourth Period’s David Pagnotta, this does not affect the NHL and NBA from returning sooner. “No, (the Mayor) was speaking City permitted events like parades and festivals,” a city official told him when asked if this affects pro sports.
IMPORTANT: Toronto’s ban is exclusively city-led events. This does not affect NHL/NBA/etc. from returning.
City exec of the Mayor’s office told me via email, when asked if this affects pro sports:
“No, (the Mayor) was speaking City permitted events like parades and festivals.” https://t.co/pwlgcjW0OB
— David Pagnotta (@TheFourthPeriod) March 31, 2020
The CDC recommended two weeks ago that no mass gatherings should be held for at least two months, meaning the soonest that the NHL would resume is around May 10. However, due to the coronavirus rapidly spreading, that may be a long shot.
This almost certainly means that the Toronto Maple Leafs would have to play their remaining home games somewhere other than Scotiabank Arena should the NHL resume play sooner than June 30. The Maple Leafs entered the league’s pause three points up on the Florida Panthers for third in the Atlantic Division, though the Panthers have a game in hand on them.
The NHL has expressed hope that teams will be able to open a mini-training camp 45 days into the 60-day period while play is paused to the coronavirus outbreak. That would mean that facilities would start opening for a mini-camp around April 27. The league will reevaluate the situation then. The NHL has been determined to award the Stanley Cup this season and asked teams for arena availability dates in August.
By Harrison Brown