What Prime Minister Trudeau's Prediction Could Mean for the NHL and NBA

NHL Dec 01, 2020

Prime Minister Trudeau indicates U.S. border restrictions to last well into 2021

Canada will not agree to lifting a ban on non-essential travel with the United States until the COVID-19 outbreak is significantly under control both domestically and around the world, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Tuesday.

Trudeau’s comments were an admission that Canada-United States border restrictions will last well into 2021.  The two nations agreed to the ban in March and have renewed it on a monthly basis ever since.  The 2019-20 NHL and NBA seasons resumed under strict quarantines and were played in empty arenas known as "bubbles."

“Until the virus is significantly more under control everywhere around the world, we’re not going to be releasing the restrictions at the border," Trudeau told the CBC when asked about the issue.

This prompted both pro sports leagues with cross border travel to issue very different responses.  The NHL is almost certainly not playing games at least until mid-January – and perhaps later.  That could also mean a shortened regular season.

The NBA doesn't have nearly the problem as the NHL, since only one team – the Toronto Raptors – would be impacted by travel restrictions.  That seems to indicate the Raptors could end up like the Blue Jays last baseball season, and end up playing "home games" someplace inside the United States.

As for now, the NBA is moving full steam ahead with plans for the regular season tip-off.