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Monday, July 27, 2020

NHL players arrive in Toronto for the bubble

NHL players arrived in Toronto yesterday for the resumption of the 2019-2020 hockey season, and they've now officially entered the bubble

Twelve teams, making up the Eastern Conference, are now settled in Toronto while the 12 Western Conference teams have entered their own respective bubble in Edmonton. 

Photos posted to social media this weekend show players from the varying teams arriving in the city, with five teams staying at Hotel X  and the remaining seven at the Fairmont Royal York

The Toronto bubble includes these two hotels as well as BMO Field and Scotiabank Arena, and players will be required to eat, sleep, play and hang out within the confines of these areas for a minimum of two months. 

Seeing as players will be limited to the bubble for the foreseeable future, each hotel floor being used to house a designated team has been decorated accordingly, and the Toronto Maple Leafs posted a video of theirs on Twitter last night. 

Other teams, such as the Montreal Canadiens, shared photos and videos of players arriving in Toronto while safely wearing masks. 

Many players from different teams also brought their guitars along for the ride. 

At the end of last week, the NHL conducted an hour-long presentation to players, coaches and executives in which they gave a detailed summary of what life in the bubble would look like.

The presentation indicated that players would have access to 14 different on-site restaurants, eight golf suites, movie theaters, player lounges, patio decks and recreational space.

Nearly 100 security guards and "health ambassadors" are also stationed throughout the bubble, and a concierge system is in place "to allow anyone in the bubble to get food, pharmaceutical needs and goods delivered from outside vendors."

While numerous teams arrived in Toronto from the U.S., where COVID-19 cases are currently surging, the bubble method is meant to ensure that players remain isolated together in one place without contributing to the spread of the virus outside the bubble.

Players are not permitted to leave the bubble for any reason, and the NHL has said players leaving the bubble "is just not something [they] can tolerate."

Players are also required to get tested for COVID-19 each day, and results will be made available within 24 hours. 

"This is going to be an unusual, to say the least, endeavour," said NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman during the virtual presentation last week. 

"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."

The 24 teams, now stationed in Canada, will begin playing a spate of exhibition games on July 28, while the Stanley Cup qualifying rounds and round-robin play will begin on August 1. 

by Mira Miller via blogTO

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