With much of the world grinding to a halt due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the NHL is no exception.
The league announced, today, that they are suspending the remainder of the 2019-2020 season until further notice, in order to prevent the spread of the respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus. The decision was reportedly unanimous among owners, and the NHL’s Board of Governors. There is no timetable as for when action will resume, though the league has asked teams to ensure arena availability through the end of July.
The @NHL pauses 2019-20 season. https://t.co/WMePei4clH pic.twitter.com/W5Hqmk3kX7— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) March 12, 2020
The Senators have released their own statement:
Statement from the Ottawa Senators on 2019-20 NHL Season suspension: pic.twitter.com/BCq9zbRuqy— Ottawa Senators (@Senators) March 12, 2020
The line “We are in touch with our event partners and taking the advice of public health authorities in regards to our other areas of operations with the highest priority on keeping our community safe” is noteworthy, and likely refers to other events at the CTC. And indeed, the Disney On Ice performances scheduled to take place there this weekend have since been cancelled.
Last night, Rudy Gobert of the NBA’s Utah Jazz tested positive for COVID-19. In response, the NBA postponed the game between the Jazz and Oklahoma City Thunder, quickly following that with an announcement that they had suspended the remainder of the 2019-2020 season. Since then, Donovan Mitchell, another Jazz player, has tested positive. Thankfully, that appears to be it for now.
With all major sports leagues agreeing to work in tandem to prevent the spread of the virus, it appears to be only a matter of time before most, if not all, professional sports competition is halted. The MLS and MLB have agreed to suspend play as well.
As the pro leagues go, so do the minor and farm leagues. Pierre LeBrun is reporting that the AHL is pausing their season, and Bob McKenzie is reporting that the CHL is doing the same in it’s three member leagues.
At the time of writing this story, there are 127863 confirmed cases of COVID-19 across the globe. More than 4500 people have died, and more than 65000 have recovered.
We will continue to keep you updated as this story unfolds.