Report: Canadian government to ease restrictions on NHL player travel ahead of trade deadline

Justin Cuthbert
·2 min read

There are fewer hoops to jump through, it seems, for Canadian teams looking to bolster their rosters before the NHL's imposed April 12 trade deadline.

CBC's David Cochrane was first to report Thursday afternoon that the Canadian government is "poised" to make another exception for the NHL teams by approving a seven-day quarantine period for players needing to cross the border from U.S. markets as part of trades leading up to the league's final call on team-to-team transactions.

TSN's Darren Dreger has since backed Cochrane's report, but NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly is on the record saying that a deal has not been officially reached, according to Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic.

TORONTO, ON - MARCH 20: Wearing jerseys to honour the Canadian Armed Forces, Joe Thornton #97 and Zach Bogosian #22 of the Toronto Maple Leafs warms up before facing the Calgary Flames at the Scotiabank Arena on March 20, 2021 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Kevin Sousa/NHLI via Getty Images)
It seems the path to Scotiabank Arena is a little less arduous now. (Photo by Kevin Sousa/NHLI via Getty Images)

There have been a few trades between Canadian- and U.S.-based franchises so far this season, which have each required a 14-day holding period for players entering Canada. Under the new guidelines, players would be tested more frequently, according to Cochrane.

All provinces with NHL teams have apparently green-lit the idea.

The seven-day quarantine period is still something Canadian teams will have to weigh before finalizing their rosters, but the reduced time will help ease the concerns of general managers. Toronto Maple Leafs GM Kyle Dubas explained last week that under the current guidelines, a player acquired on deadline day would be with the organization for less than 10 days before the postseason begins.

The Maple Leafs, along with the Edmonton Oilers, Winnipeg Jets, Montreal Canadiens and Calgary Flames are among teams in realistic postseason contention, and who are likely to consider buying before the deadline.

While a positive development for teams and fans, the news will not change the fact that the last team standing from the North Division will likely still have to migrate south to complete the season.

While the Canadian representative in the final four may now be better equipped to compete after potentially pulling off a trade, it appears very unlikely that the government will approve the cross-border travel necessary to complete a seven-game series between opponents located on opposite sides of the border.

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