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NHL, Canada agree to allow cross-border travel for playoffs

NHL, Canada agree to allow cross-border travel for playoffs
The Bell Centre, the home of the Montreal Canadiens, could host a United States-based team in the third round of the NHL playoffs next week in Montreal. Photo by Alexcaban/Wikimedia Commons

June 7 (UPI) -- A United States-based hockey team will play an NHL game in Canada for the first time since 2020 after the league reached an agreement with the Canadian government to allow teams to cross the border for playoff games.

The NHL and Canadian immigration minister Marco Mendicino announced the agreement Sunday.

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"The NHL is very appreciative of the decision by the Canadian government and the federal health officials to allow the Canadian team that advances to the Stanley Cup Semifinals and, potentially, the Final, to host games in their own rinks," NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said in a statement.

The NHL rearranged its regular season and postseason format this year as travel between the United States and Canada was closed for nonessential purposes.

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The league's seven Canadian teams played only each other in the regular season and four Canadian teams were placed in the same region of the Stanley Cup Playoff bracket.

The new agreement allows the winner of the all-Canadian playoff region and its American playoff counterpart to cross the border for the third and final rounds of the playoffs.

The Canadian government requires travelers to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival. The terms of the new agreement require teams to quarantine at designated hotels in the United States and Canada.

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Away-team players will arrive on private planes, only be allowed to visit the arena where they are playing and won't have contact with the public. Players will be tested daily for COVID-19.

The Montreal Canadiens lead the Winnipeg Jets 3-0 in their second-round series. Game 4 is at 8 p.m. EDT Monday at the Bell Centre in Montreal.

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