Chicago mayor: City offers 'everything they would want' for NHL hub
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot is eager to see the Windy City serve as one of the NHL's two hub locations.
"We're very excited at the possibility and have really tried to make the case for why Chicago should be chosen," Lightfoot told The Athletic's Scott Powers. "I'm hopeful we'll be successful.
"Although I expect the playoffs to be probably fan-less, we're still very well-situated to accommodate the league and the players. We have plenty of hotel space and got a great culture life here. I think everything they would want to put on with a best-in-class playoff experience is here in Chicago."
In addition to Chicago, the league is considering nine other cities for its two locations: Columbus, Dallas, Edmonton, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Pittsburgh, Toronto, and Vancouver.
The NHL is expected to announce its selections on June 22, according to John Katsilometes of the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
Safety will be a top priority in the league's decision, and Illinois has seen a steady dip in COVID-19 cases. The state's seven-day rolling average has decreased by about 69% over the last three weeks, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.
"If I didn't feel like we were on a downward trajectory both in terms of number of cases, new cases reported, and all the other public health metrics, I would not feel comfortable," Lightfoot said. "But we have worked extraordinarily hard over these last three months to put us in a position - and first and foremost, our priority is our residents - that our residents would have confidence that we have engaged in a robust public health response to this deadly virus."
The Blackhawks qualified for the league's expanded 24-team postseason as the Western Conference's 12th seed. They're slated to meet the fifth-seeded Edmonton Oilers in a best-of-five play-in series for the right to advance to the first round of the playoffs.