Photo: Jason Franson, The canadian Press
Preparations around the Ice District, in view of the return of hockey to Edmonton
Steve Mayer has lived a few times a source of anxiety last week.
In the middle of the preparations for the relaunch of the NHL, the director of the content of the league has had to ask what the rain and floods to Rogers Place in Edmonton — one of two cities the poles, with Toronto — would mean for the plan.
Local officials have said at that time that they did not think that it would be a hindrance.
The game resumes Tuesday with the matches preparatory to the stimulus as such, from the 1st of August.
Mayer confirmed on Friday that, despite the water that fell in a waterfall in the lobby and in other parts of the arena, which opened four years ago, everything is on the right track.
“We had a little bit of fear, it is safe, he said. But there is no problem. Everything has been repaired. “
The league revealed its plan for the health, safety and security, as well as information on broadcasts and equipment of the players. No supporter will be allowed in the arenas.
“[It will be] one of the adventures of the most unique and the most demanding [of the history of the league], ” said commissioner Gary Bettman. This is not a coincidence that the cities centers are Toronto and Edmonton saw the emphasis on health and safety, about the COVID-19. “
The staff of the NHA will be housed and will play in bubbles separated from the general public, under an agreement signed with the federal government.
Dr. Willem Meeuwisse, physician-in-chief of the NHL, stated that the project was planned in depth, including with the public health Agency of Canada, as well as with provincial and local authorities.
But he added that it would be wrong to assume that there will be no positive tests, once the 24 teams — each with a group of 52 people — will be arriving in the secure area Sunday, to resume a season suspended in mid-march.
“We do not expect it to be perfect, said Meeuwisse. We anticipate with the number of people that we’re going to have positive tests, and we have a methodology and process designed in advance to deal with them. “
The NHL, which has reported two cases among more than 800 players tested, during the first five days of camp, last week, will use DynaLIFE Medical Labs, Edmonton, and LifeLabs, Toronto, for the daily testing of the COVID-19.
“We didn’t want to engage in a strategy which would remove the protective equipment or tests to vulnerable populations and the health workers, said Meeuwisse. We have signed contracts with companies that, we are assured, have a capacity [to test] excess. “
30 players in total were declared positive when training volunteers in the club facilities, from 8 June to 12 July. There have been 13 other positive outcomes outside of the official protocol.
Meeuwisse said that there has been a lot of discussion about what a positive test of a player or a staff member in the bubbles would be as a result of, in respect of the exposure as well as the research and the follow-up of contacts.
“[We] have adopted a strategy rather similar to that of health care workers, where you assume that there is a certain level of exposure, he said. The only thing we can’t do with the players, it is to put them in the masks when they play, but we mitigate this risk by making tests on a daily basis.
“We will continue to do the [follow-up] contacts, because there are degrees of exposure. And if we think that a degree of exposure is unusually high, they can always be put in quarantine. But in the end, it is a protocol that has a lot of involvement and contribution and approval of the Association of NHL players.
“As a group, the players are comfortable with it. And I think that if the players are pretty uncomfortable, they will have the opportunity not to participate. “
As to the daily life inside the bubbles, each of which has 14 restaurants for the players and staff, as well as a concierge service for deliveries.
The BMO Field in Toronto — normally the home of the FC and the Argonauts — part of the bubble, acting as a center of outdoor recreation.
Michael Buble, a four-time Grammy-winner, will perform the national anthems for the games opening August 1st, while EA Sports will provide the noise of the crowd.