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NHL shows off plans for Edmonton, Toronto Return to Play bubbles

The NHL showed off its plans for the Edmonton and Toronto bubbles to players and staff Thursday night.

Food trucks, bars, movie theaters, restaurants, and more will be available for those traveling to the hubs this weekend. There was also an insight into how games will be presented in the arenas and on television.

Crowd noise and five-second delays

Since there won’t be fans inside Rogers Place or Scotiabank Arena, we’ll get to hear sounds from the ice we don’t get watching on television. Some of those sounds, of course, aren’t always TV friendly. Feeds will have a five-second delay in case someone gets a little too unhappy about a bad call or mistake.

EA Sports will supply friendlier in-game sound. The video game maker will provide artificial crowd noise, like they’ve been doing with English Premier League soccer games to provide a bit of atmosphere.

There will also be fan chants after the NHL asked season-ticket holders to submit videos of them supporting their teams and jeering their opponents. (Will we get a booing compilation when Commissioner Gary Bettman is walking out to award the Stanley Cup?)

Individual team goal songs and goal horns will also be heard when they are the “home” team. So, yes, when the Blue Jackets play “home” and score, we will still get to hear the infamous cannon.

Both rinks will feature 32 repositioned cameras to provide new angles for broadcasts. To avoid showing empty seats behind both benches the league has built a stage with LED screens and banners behind them, as you see in the above image.

[2020 NHL Stanley Cup Qualifiers schedule]


Theme nights and social causes

The NHL will honor front-line pandemic workers and those advocating for social justice causes during the Penguins-Canadiens and Blackhawks-Oilers opening games on August 1.

Players can also create their own helmet and uniform decals that will celebrate “community, charities, businesses, fans, front-line heroes, youth programs and social justice advocates.” The decals will have the "#ISkateFor” and "#WeSkateFor” hashtags.

Screen Shot 2020-07-24 at 10.23.28 AM

Amenities inside the bubbles

If a team makes the Stanley Cup Final, players could be inside the bubble for over two months. That means you’ll want to have as many options to fill your time away from the rink as possible. Each hub will have 14 restaurants (Tim Hortons, of course will be included), bars, food trucks, and coffee shops, as well as eight movie theaters, player lounges, and activity spaces for ping pong, swimming, and more.

Miscellaneous bubble plan notes

• An image of the Stanley Cup will feature at center ice.

• Singer Michael Buble will be singing the national anthems on opening night for both hubs.

• The NHL All-Access: Quest for the Stanley Cup show will return.

A look at the Eastern Conference matchups
Final standings for 2019-20 NHL season, NHL draft lottery results
A look at the Western Conference matchups


Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.