The chances for a Toronto Raptors return home next season just got a whole lot better.
The Canadian government has reportedly approved a travel exemption that will permit NHL teams in the playoffs to avoid the two-week quarantine when traveling between the United States and Canada, according to the CBC.
Teams will be subjected to pre and post-arrival testing in addition to daily COVID-19 tests and must stay in a modified quarantine bubble, per the CBC.
It’s the first time the government has permitted cross-border travel exceptions for sports teams. The Raptors were forced to play last season in Tampa and the Toronto Blue Jays spent last season and the start of this season split between Dunedin and Buffalo.
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.”
The NBA has yet to announce a start date for next season.