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Key Points

  • The Canadian government is relaxing travel restrictions for National Hockey League (NHL) teams crossing the US-Canada border for the Stanley Cup event. Upon entry, they will not have to complete a 14-day quarantine.
  • According to Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino, this change is allowed on a “national interest” basis. It offers flexibility for the final two rounds of championship matches.
  • Teams must enter Canada or the US via private plane. Additionally, they must take COVID-19 tests before and after arriving in Canada. During their stay, they must test daily.


The Stanley Cup is an annual playoff competition for international hockey; Canada is often involved in hosting and sending its teams to advanced rounds. The United States is similarly invested, and this exception supports the exchange of teams across the US-Canadian border. Importantly, this change supports American- and Canadian-based teams only; this change does not grant exception to teams from countries beyond Canada and the United States.

What are the Changes?

Professional athletic travel exceptions are not new to Canada. In December 2020, similar exemptions were given to support NHL training camp. Like this instance, the December exemption was granted under “national interest” grounds. These exemptions override traditional US-Canada COVID-19 travel regulations.

Looking Ahead

It is possible that additional US-Canada travel bans may be lifted this summer. Increased vaccination rates and decreasing cases may lead to relaxed travel permissions. For any clients with NHL talent or professional hockey talent in Canada, keep an eye out for upcoming Canadian Immigration announcements.

Source: National Hockey League

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