Lori Lockdown Lightfoot...wants the NHL in Chicago. Color me SHOCKED. We've come along way here in Chicago from this moment where Lightfoot had all of the Chicago pro sports teams and a couple of idiots out to Soldier Field to talk about the "We're Not Playing" movement to get everyone to stay inside
Given the messaging from Lightfoot and the number of cases in Chicago it would seem impossible for us to be able to host a massive NHL tournament, but perhaps the league and Lightfoot are just being pragmatic because if you stop to think about it, Chicago, on paper, has just about everything in place to make Chicago attractive.
1) The ability to test. Due to the fact that Chicago has had so many cases, they've also been able to process a TON of tests. North of 800,000 so far. Very important because Bettman and Bill Daley said that the NHL will need to perform as many as 30,000 tests per day. Chicago should be able to have infrastructure in place to do that. Something a smaller city may not be able to do as efficiently or effectively.
2) Rinks. Obviously every NHL city will have an NHL rink. Chicago has an abundance of other ice rinks available as well. 5th/3rd is a state of the art practice facility with two sheets and a bunch of locker rooms. Probably only one truly NHL caliber locker room, but enough locker rooms for NHL teams to get dressed and keep equipment there and pretend that they're back playing peewee. Same goes for Johnnys East and West. Maybe not totally up to NHL standards, but close enough and right near the United Center. That is a good amount of ice and if teams wanted to bus 30-45 minutes from their downtown hotels that opens up a ton of other locations too
3) Hotels. Roughly a million. Easy access from the loop to UC and practice facilities.
Chicago has everything, on paper, that you would want as a potential hub city. I am STUNNED that both Lightfoot and Pritzker are cool with this, but their cooperation definitely opens a door. Maybe behind that door they're singing a different tune, but at least on the surface it seems like the two cities to host the playoffs could be Chicago and Vegas.
IF Chicago is selected, it sounds like they won't host the Blackhawks. I'd imagine that the NHL doesn't want to give a team "home ice advantage" even though the advantage would probably be in perception only as teams would likely be quarantined in a hotel together even if it is their home city and there's no fans. Personally, it doesn't impact me directly if Chicago is a host. It's not like we are going to be able to go to these games. The UC is about 2 miles from me, but it might as well be in Alberta under these circumstances. I'll just be watching on my couch like usual. I would like to think that this could be a boom to the restaurant industry that has been suffering so much during corona. The teams are going to have to eat. Having an influx of like 600+ NHL players, coaches, and staff ordering food three times per day has to be good for local businesses. And maybe that is why Lori Lightfoot is in favor of bringing the NHL to Chicago.