PHN did the math on Monday. The spots still vying to be one of the NHL hub cities were down to six, and the known cities did not include Pittsburgh. On Tuesday morning, the NHL and the Pittsburgh Penguins made the news official. The city and PPG Paints will not play host to 12 NHL teams as a hub city for the NHL Return to Play Phase 4 games.
According to a release from the Penguins, the NHL informed the team on Monday night.
The Penguins release termed the team’s proposal to be one of the NHL hub cities as “aggressive” with support from UPMC, PPG, local businesses, unions, and politicians. The Penguins were one of 10 finalists to be an NHL hub.
Last week, the Canadian government relaxed the 14-day quarantine rule for returning athletes and included local arenas as part of a quarantine zone. The move almost assuredly means one or both NHL hub cities will be in Canada.
“We know Pittsburgh would have been a great host city because of our fans and the support we received from the local business community, unions, and our political leaders,” said Penguins President and CEO David Morehouse. “We thank Commissioner Bettman and the NHL for considering us as one of the finalists, which is a reflection on how great of a city Pittsburgh truly is. We now look forward to training camp and getting back to game action.”
The Penguins and the other 23 teams set to take part in the 24-team NHL Return to Play with Qualifying Rounds and the NHL playoffs. Phase 3 training camps will begin on July 10. The Penguins will hold their camp at the UPMC Lemieux Complex before traveling to their yet to be determined hub city on July 23 or 24.
Phase 4 games will begin on July 30.
According to TSN Insider Pierre LeBrun, the remaining cities in contention are Toronto, Edmonton, Vancouver, Las Vegas, Chicago, and Los Angeles. LA’s candidacy is a sharp turnaround from March when the LA Times reported half of the NBA COVID-19 cases, and several NHL positive tests likely traced back to the Staples Center.