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Chicago among final 6 to be hub city for NHL’s 24-team playoff format

The final six has three American and three Canadian cities, including five located in the Western Conference.

NHL: Ottawa Senators at Chicago Blackhawks Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

Chicago is officially one of six finalist to be a hub city in the NHL’s 24-team return-to-play format after Dallas and Pittsburgh said the League was no longer considering them as an option.

The final six includes three American and three Canadian cities, including five in the Western Conference. Las Vegas and Los Angeles — both in the Pacific time zone — join Chicago among the American cities, while Edmonton, Toronto and Vancouver are the Canadian cities. The NHL will select two cities.

Toronto is the lone city from the Eastern Conference, while the other five are from the Western Conference. Edmonton is in the lone city in the Mountain time zone.

The NHL previously considered Columbus, Dallas, Minneapolis/St. Paul and Pittsburgh. Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic first reported the news Monday.

The League moved to Phase 2 of its four-part Return to Play Plan on June 10, with players able to return to team facilities for voluntary on-ice workouts with a limited amount of team personnel in attendance. The NHL will move to formal training camps for the 24 teams resuming play July 10, if conditions related to the coronavirus pandemic allow it.

The Blackhawks, the No. 12 seed in the West, are scheduled to play the No. 5 seed Oilers in a best-of-five qualifying round series.

It’s expected the NHL Players’ Association will vote on both Phases 3 and 4 at the same time, rather than having two different approval votes. Players have approved a playoff format if the season is restarted, but have not yet approved an actual return to play this summer.