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Canadian government grants NHL travel exemption for Stanley Cup Playoffs

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The Canadian federal government announced on Sunday that it has granted a travel exemption that will allow the winner of the North Division to travel back and forth between Canada and the United States for the Stanley Cup Semifinals. That exemption would also continue on for the Stanley Cup Final should either the Winnipeg Jets or Montreal Canadiens advance.

The exemption will allow the Canadian teams to travel back and forth, as well as the American teams to travel to Canada, without having to go through the two week isolation period that currently exists for non-essential travel into Canada.

Players will, however, have to go through daily COVID testing and will be in a modified bubble where they will not have contact with the general public.

“The National Hockey League 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 Semi-Finals and, potentially, the Final, to host games in their own rinks,” NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said in a statement. “As we did during our Return to Play last August and September in the Edmonton and Toronto bubbles and throughout the 2020-21 regular season, we have again worked closely with PHAC, and the provincial and municipal health authorities to develop a series of strict protocols that will protect the safety of all concerned.”

The Jets and Canadiens are the two remaining Canadian teams playing and one of them will be playing in the Semifinals. The winner of their series will play the winner of the Colorado Avalanche-Vegas Golden Knights series.

The Canadiens enter Game 3 on Sunday night (6:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN) with a 2-0 series lead after defeating the Toronto Maple Leafs in the First Round. The Jets defeated the Edmonton Oilers in a four-game sweep.

The entire 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs were played in Canada (Toronto and Edmonton) in a bubble. The Third Round will be the first time since then that one of the United States based teams will travel to Canada for a game.

Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.