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The NHL has wanted to keep the bubble as small as possible to minimize risk. Adding a new wave of people this late in the tournament inherently threatens more exposure to the virus. Even though the players and league had a handshake on the agreement, many players became frustrated by a lack of transparency through the process and felt the goalposts were constantly moving.
"To be honest, the whole thing was not quite as billed," says one Western Conference player who spent weeks in the Edmonton bubble. "Before we get there it was like, 'Oh, absolutely, bring the families in for the conference finals. We'll have it all set up. It will be great!' Then once we got there, it was like, 'Oh, we don't know how we're going to do the family thing.' Then they said they were having trouble with the Canadian government not letting families in. Which I think is kind of bulls---, to be honest, because they had no trouble getting our third equipment manager in, or our social media coordinator, or ... I could go on. It seemed like they didn't want the families in there when it really got down to it. The boxes they made families check were a little unrealistic."
The league has done an admirable job in keeping players in the bubble from contracting COVID-19. On the other hand, as this article illustrates, that doesn’t mean that there haven’t been downsides.