The NHL is reportedly doing its best to seek approval from the Canadian government to permit cross-border travel for the playoffs, according to The Canadian Press. If things go well, it could be a good sign for the Toronto Raptors and a return to Scotiabank Arena next season.
Multiple sources have reportedly told Lee Berthiaume that work is underway to open the Canadian-US border to NHL teams in the third and final rounds of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Two federal government sources say the exemption would let teams still in the Stanley Cup hunt enter Canada for games without having to isolate for 14 days, as is currently required for all non-essential travellers entering the country.
This has been the big hiccup for both the Raptors and Toronto Blue Jays who have been forced to play south of the border to avoid Canada’s quarantine requirement.
As of May 19, Raptors president Masai Ujiri said there had been no determination made as to where the Raptors will play next season. They have been conducting their pre-draft activities from Tampa and are hopeful next season will be played in Toronto.
“I think the government knows what they need to do,” Ujiri said during his season-ending media availability. “We want to play [in Toronto] 100%. We have no interest in going to play anywhere else. Tampa was unbelievable to us. They were great to us, but like Freddie [VanVleet] said, Tampa is not Toronto.”
When the press conference wrapped up Ujiri joked that he was going to give Prime Minister Justin Trudeau a call to discuss a return.
As of now the Raptors still have quite a bit of time before a decision has to be made, but things will not be left to the last minute like last year. If the NHL can get approval for June, things will be looking good for Toronto when the 2021-22 NBA season rolls around next Fall.