A significant domino fell on Wednesday night when the NBA suspended its season indefinitely after a player tested positive for COVID-19, becoming the first professional league in North America to do so. And many have since followed suit.
After meeting with their Board of Governors on Thursday afternoon, the NHL officially announced that it is suspending play, effective immediately.
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman released this statement:
In light of ongoing developments resulting from the coronavirus, and after consulting with medical experts and convening a conference call of the Board of Governors, the National Hockey League is announcing today that it will pause the 2019‑20 season beginning with tonight’s games.
The NHL has been attempting to follow the mandates of health experts and local authorities, while preparing for any possible developments without taking premature or unnecessary measures. However, following last night’s news that an NBA player has tested positive for coronavirus – and given that our leagues share so many facilities and locker rooms and it now seems likely that some member of the NHL community would test positive at some point – it is no longer appropriate to try to continue to play games at this time.
We will continue to monitor all the appropriate medical advice, and we will encourage our players and other members of the NHL community to take all reasonable precautions – including by self-quarantine, where appropriate. Our goal is to resume play as soon as it is appropriate and prudent, so that we will be able to complete the season and award the Stanley Cup. Until then, we thank NHL fans for your patience and hope you stay healthy.
On Monday, the NHL, NBA, MLB and MLS jointly announced that they are restricting locker room access amid the rapid spread of the virus. On Wednesday, two NHL teams made the decision to play the remainder of their home games in March without fans.
But circumstances have significantly changed since then, and the NHL is shutting down until further notice. The hope is that the season will eventually continue, but it's a fluid situation.
Stay tuned for more details...
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