For months, since the idea of hub cities was brought to the forefront, Vegas was widely considered the best option for the league. Every major reporter, be it national or local, declared Las Vegas to be the city with the best accommodations to deliver on the utopian bubble-world the NHL was seeking.
The problem is, the NHL doesn’t actually believe in their own irrational idea and the image of Las Vegas is getting unnecessarily slammed worldwide because of it.
The plan the NHL has laid out is to bring 12 teams from each conference to one central location in order to play out the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs and crown a team a champion. (Really, they just want the money that goes along with the event, but we’ll let that go for now.) Each “hub city” will house all 12 teams through the first two playoff rounds and then presumably the winners from one site will travel to the other to wrap up the conference finals and Stanley Cup Final.
The idea sounds amazing. Lock everyone in a specific area, test them all at the beginning to ensure everyone is healthy and COVID-19 free, and then have them all live there so no one is at risk of contracting the virus. Since there were to be no fans in the arenas anyway, playing every game at a neutral site is also a great way to limit travel, testing, and staff to tend to the games.
Here’s the issue and why it’s unnecessarily dragged Vegas through the mud. If the concept of the bubble actually worked, the surrounding areas wouldn’t make any difference. Once the bubble is “sealed” even if every person in the city in which its located gets infected, everyone inside the bubble is safe. Literally, the reason the term “bubble” is used.
But, if it is indeed true that Las Vegas is no longer being considered due to a spike in cases in the city, which has been written or said by pretty much everyone despite no official word on of it, then the league has proven they do not believe in their own concept. Instead, what they believe is that people will slip out of the bubble, others will slip in, and when it happens they want to limit the possibility of a bubble defector or bubble invaders contracting the virus. (Actually, they want to create the perception that they did everything in their power to avoid the inevitable from happening so they aren’t liable when it does, but we’ll let that go for now.)
So, in their fear of defectors and intruders, they’ve gone above and beyond to weed out cities that appear to have higher numbers of positive tests. Somehow, Vegas became one of those cities on the outs, despite being the only city on the NHL’s list to have actually held sporting events since the shutdown. The UFC has been holding events in Las Vegas since late May and has hosted 110 fighters over five different fight cards without a single case of Coronavirus to an athlete. The NHL though, believes there are too many cases and are instead creating both bubbles in Canada.
This unequivocally proves that the concept of the bubble is viewed as untrustworthy by the league. In a utopian world, there would be no defectors nor intruders and a negative test at the beginning would carry through the entirety of the playoffs as everyone is locked safely and soundly inside the bubble.
But utopia doesn’t exist and unfortunately, Las Vegas is paying for the half-baked idea that was concocted in the name of safety in the first place. (Actually, the hub city idea was likely pitched and ultimately accepted because it is financially much more viable than traveling and testing in buildings that won’t be making money off gate revenue, but we’ll let that go for now.)