Chicago is reportedly 1 of 4 finalists be to an NHL hub city when play returns next month

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Erik Gustafsson #56 of the Chicago Blackhawks controls the puck against the Florida Panthers at the United Center on Jan. 21, 2020 in Chicago. The city may be a hub city when play returns. - Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images North America/TNS

CHICAGO — The NHL has yet to announce the two hub cities that will host the playoffs this summer, but Chicago is reportedly a finalist.

Toronto, Las Vegas and Edmonton are the other candidates still in the running from a list of 10 candidates, according to TSN’s Bob McKenzie.

If Chicago is selected as a hub city, the McCormick Place convention center and campus could be converted into a players village, Crain’s Chicago reported.

In May, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot endorsed her city landing the nod, saying “I’m really enthusiastic about the possibility of getting hockey playoffs here in Chicago. As you know, we are a hockey city. We’re one of the original franchises in the league. Hockey is deeply ingrained into the sports fabric of our city, and I’m going to do everything I can to support the efforts of the Blackhawks and others to bring hockey playoffs to Chicago.”

The original candidates were Pittsburgh, Las Vegas, Columbus, Dallas, Minneapolis and Tampa from the United States, while Canada’s hopes rested with Vancouver, Toronto and Edmonton.

However, The Athletic’s Arthur Staple tweeted Monday that “it’s looking like Vegas and Toronto for the NHL hub cities,” adding teams likely would stay in their home regions instead of switching between Eastern and Western Conference venues to avoid home-ice advantage.

Multiple reports have said the NHL will make announce the hub cities within a day or two, the latest step in its return-to-play plan since the season was paused in mid-March because of the coronavirus pandemic. Earlier this month, Blackhawks star Patrick Kane said players want to hear more details from the league about its planned safety protocols to protect players before they agree to come back.

Barring any setbacks, the 12th-seeded Blackhawks would meet the No. 5 Oilers in a five-game play-in series in the 24-team tournament.

The Blackhawks are scheduled to open training camp 2.0 on July 10.


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