The NHL shared details of life inside the hub cities with players and team staff Thursday evening. Restaurants, activities, lounges, security setup, renderings of how arenas will look, the philosophy behind in-game presentation, new campaign intiatives and more were presented to the teams. Here’s a bit of what we’ve learned.
“This is going to be an unusual, to say the least, endeavor,” NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said. “It will be challenging at times, but I assure you we, in conjunction with the [NHL] Players’ Association, who we work with every step of the way, are trying to do everything possible to make this an experience that hopefully you’ll never forget, but in a good way.”
Toronto Secure Zone
The Secure Zone in Toronto will include BMO Field, which will be used for outdoor recreational activities, game viewing and dining options.
There will be a fencing system running through each location to keep everyone inside the bubble secure and away from the general public. There will be 97 security guards and health ambassadors in Toronto and 125 in Edmonton.
The NHL released a rendering of what the actual arena, or game presentation will look like.
Here’s a rendering of what the arena will look like during the NHL restart. The league is promising a unique look and feel to every game played, including the local goal horns and songs of each team participating. pic.twitter.com/dwMAocHe2c
— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) July 24, 2020
“Rather than taking advantage of virtual fans or cardboard cutouts or putting teddy bears in the stands, we’ve decided that we’re going to do something that really caters to the fans at home, the fans that are enjoying the television experience,” Mayer said. “We want to educate them. We want to entertain them. We want to visually excite them.”
The League is using video, audio and lighting that will allow every game to look different from the previous game. There will be LED screens, monitors and stages around the ice to create the unique television-friendly look.
Mayer said the NHL has gotten goal songs, goal horns, in-arena music compilations and motivational videos from each of the 24 teams participating. The League also received specially produced videos from fans that will replicate some of the chants that go on in teams’ home arenas.
In addition, Mayer said broadcast partners NBC in Toronto and Sportsnet in Edmonton will use 32 cameras per game, 12 more than normal, that will be repositioned in each building to bring the television audience visuals they haven’t seen before.
The League has partnered with EA Sports to use its library of in-game sounds to mimic some crowd noise.
Mayer said the same game presentation will not be used during the 12 exhibition games.
There will be daily testing for COVID-19, with results available within 24 hours. The NHL will use DynaLIFE Medical Labs to conduct COVID-19 testing in Edmonton and LifeLabs Medical Laboratory Services in Toronto.
Testing zones have been setup inside each arena. Here is an early look at the testing setup inside Rogers Place in Edmonton:
CLEAR has developed an app linked with a touchless health-screening kiosk that will help streamline the facilitation of symptom and temperature checks in Toronto and Edmonton. There will be more than 60 CLEAR kiosks in both cities.
“Protecting the sanctity of the protective zone, the hub, the bubble, is most and vitally important to ensure that everybody’s health and well-being is taken care of,” Commissioner Bettman said. “Leaving the bubble is just not something we can tolerate.”
“I can tell you that so far this week we have not had a confirmed positive,” Daly said. “I think it’s a credit to the seriousness with which are players are taking the precautions that are necessary.”
Life inside the bubble:
The NHL released a short video Thursday night that provided additional detail about life inside the secure zone.
What will life be like in the Secure Zone?
The NHL today shared a comprehensive video presentation with details on the upcoming #StanleyCup Qualifiers and Playoffs, ahead of a Q&A with media on Friday: https://t.co/x3j55fp9Vf pic.twitter.com/QMRlAxI3UJ
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) July 24, 2020
Of note with the NHL’s hub city plan: Players and staff will have access to a concierge service where they can get delieveries from pharmacies, grocery stores and restaurants.
Every NHL coaching staff will have an office built in a suite inside Rogers Place/Scotiabank Arena. The GMs will also have a suite.
The layout in each hub city includes designated space for indoor and outdoor activities, including movie theaters, player lounges, patio decks and recreational space. Players in Toronto will have use of BMO Field in Exhibition Place, home to Toronto FC of Major League Soccer.
Each hotel has team meeting rooms, meal rooms and fitness facilities. There will also be exclusive areas in the arenas for players to watch the other games.
By Jon Sorensen