A day after the NBA abruptly put its regular season on hiatus, the National Hockey League has done the same. The NHL announced on Thursday that its own regular season would be put on ice amid growing concerns about the coronavirus pandemic and the news that two NBA players have tested positive for the disease.
Source indicates that Gary Bettman has been in touch with all the teams and they have been told the NHL season will be suspended. Call at 1pm to work our some details in a fluid situation.
— Brett Cyrgalis (@BrettCyrgalis) March 12, 2020
The NHL is among other leagues such as MLS, the NBA and the NLL to put their seasons on hold amid the virus’s outbreak. Speculation went from simply playing games without fans present to encourage social distancing to a full-on suspension as two Utah Jazz players — Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell — tested positive for COVID-19.
With the NBA and NHL playing games in the same venues in some cities across the country, and the cross-exposure and logistical connections NBA teams have to one another, it became obvious that the top hockey league in North America would have to follow the NBA’s lead and also cancel its season. The league did, however, delay making an official announcement until Thursday afternoon as it did what was reported as “due diligence” in its procedures moving forward.
— Las Vegas Review-Journal (@reviewjournal) March 12, 2020
It’s unclear if the NHL’s regular season will resume at some point or if the league will skip right to its postseason, but reports indicated that the league has asked team venues to keep availability open to them this summer.
Hearing as part of the #NHL's due diligence process, teams have been asked to provide arena building availability through the end of July.
— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) March 12, 2020
We’ll update this post when we know more about the cancelations.