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

Just Posted

The Government of Alberta identified 115 new COVID-19 cases Sunday, bringing the provincial total to 3,089.
(Black Press file photo)
Red Deer COVID cases continue to fall

114 cases in Red Deer, down one from Saturday

Maskwacis Pride crosswalk (Left to right): Montana First Nation Councillor Reggie Rabbit, Samson Cree Nation Councillor Louise Omeasoo, Samson Cree Nation Councillor Katherine Swampy, Samson Cree Nation Councillor Shannon Buffalo, Samson Cree Nation Chief Vern Saddleback.
Pride in Maskwacis

The 4th inaugural Maskwacis Pride crosswalk painting took place on Saturday 12, 2020.

1913 Days returns this weekend, though it will look different than in years past. This year, in keeping with COVID-19 restrictions, there will not be a parade or some other favourite events. (File Photo)
Softer version of 1913 Days returns to Sylvan Lake this weekend

1913 Days is returning with a different look as the community begins to comes out of the pandemic

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney arrives at the 2021 budget in Edmonton on Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta launches COVID vaccine lottery with million-dollar prizes to encourage uptake

The premier says the lottery will offer three prizes worth $1 million a piece, as well as other prizes

The City of Red Deer sits at 249 active cases of the virus, after hitting a peak of 565 active cases on Feb. 22. (Black Press file image)
Red Deer down to 119 active COVID-19 cases

Province identifies 179 new cases Saturday

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

The Kamloops Indian Residential School is photographed using a drone in Kamloops, B.C., Monday, June, 14, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former school earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Communities grapple with what to do with former residential and day schools

Some tear them down as a tool to help healing, others repurpose them as tools for moving forward

RCMP Const. Shelby Patton is shown in this undated handout photo. RCMP say that Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over on Saturday morning in Wolseley, east of Regina. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, RCMP
Pair charged in Saskatchewan Mountie’s death make first court appearance

Const. Shelby Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over Saturday morning

David and Collet Stephan leave for a break during an appeal hearing in Calgary on Thursday, March 9, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Todd Korol
Appeal Court rejects stay for Alberta couple facing third trial in son’s death

Pair accused in their earlier trials of not seeking medical attention for their son sooner

Calgary Stampeders’ Jerome Messam leaps over a tackle during second half CFL western semifinal football action in Calgary, Sunday, Nov. 15, 2015.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
CFL football will be played this summer in Canada

Governors vote unanimously in favour to start the ‘21 campaign on Aug. 5

Citizenship Minister Marco Mendicino holds a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, Nov. 12, 2020. The federal government is announcing that Indigenous people can now apply to reclaim their names on passports and other government documents. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous people can now reclaim traditional names on their passports and other ID

Announcement applies to all individuals of First Nations, Inuit and Métis background

This undated photo provided by Girl Scouts of New Mexico Trails shows a scout donating cookies to firefighters in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, as part of the Hometown Heroes program. As the coronavirus pandemic wore into the spring selling season, many Girl Scout troops nixed their traditional cookie booths for safety reasons. That resulted in millions of boxes of unsold cookies. (Girl Scouts of New Mexico Trails via AP)
Thinner Mints: Girl Scouts have millions of unsold cookies

Since majority of cookies are sold in-person, pandemic made the shortfall expected

In this artist’s sketch, Nathaniel Veltman makes a video court appearance in London, Ont., on June 10, 2021 as Justice of the Peace Robert Seneshen (top left) and lawyer Alayna Jay look on. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Alexandra Newbould
Terror charges laid against London attack suspect

Crown says Nathaniel Veltman’s four counts of first-degree murder constitute an act of terrorism

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

Most Read