VANCOUVER -- In an exclusive interview with CTV News on Monday, B.C. Premier John Horgan said he will be speaking via phone with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman about the possibility of the NHL returning to Vancouver.

"I’d very much like to see it happen if we can do it in a safe way," Horgan said.

The provincial government has also been in talks with the ownership group of the Vancouver Canucks.

Horgan said he believes British Columbia could play a huge role in the successful return of the NHL after the league suspended games and practices on March 12 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"We believe we can do a pretty good job. We have a lot of hotel capacity," Horgan said.

"We’ve got some outstanding facilities, not just Rogers Arena but a whole host of other arenas around the province."

According to, the league is keeping track of local government restrictions impacting each of its 31 clubs by way of a master chart.

"The NHL is not going to choose a place where people are going to be upset players are playing hockey cause they’re in lockdown," said Ryan Rishaug, a correspondent for TSN, in an interview on CTV Morning Live.

"It's also about optics, testing, safety, logistics, and many other criteria the Canucks will need to meet," he added.

NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly told TSN senior hockey reporter Frank Seravalli the list is "dynamic and changes virtually every day."

The premier did not include any dates or details about the potential return of hockey to B.C. He did ensure though that fans would not be in the seats.

Horgan also explained that any players, coaches or officials that potentially enter the province would still have to follow a 14-day self-quarantine law.

"I think British Columbia has a lot to offer the NHL, and based on the correspondents and the discussions, the NHL sees that as well," Horgan added.

With files from CTV News Vancouver's Regan Hasegawa