NHL Pauses Remainder of 2019-20 Season
Following a conference call with the NHL board of governors, commissioner Gary Bettman released a statement indicating the league will pause the remainder of the 2019-20 season over coronavirus concerns.
“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.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I doubt anyone’s surprised by this announcement. The spread of the virus in North America, combined with the NBA’s decision last night to pause their season, left the league no choice. It’s the sensible thing to due under the circumstances.
It’s hoped more details will be revealed as to when the NHL will resume the rest of the schedule, as well as when they’ll start the 2020 Stanley Cup playoffs, which were to begin on April 8. Various scenarios have reportedly been discussed, but there’s nothing confirmed yet as to what the schedule will look like once this pause has been lifted. It’s possible the playoffs could push throughout June or perhaps into July.
The bottom line here is the league intends to resume the schedule within the four weeks. They haven’t reached the point where they will cancel the season.
In the meantime, I’ll continue to update this site daily throughout this period with the latest NHL news and rumors. I hope you’ll all continue to check in regularly. Take care of yourselves, and please follow instructions to protect you and others from catching or spreading this coronavirus. Here’s hoping we can all get back to watching NHL hockey soon.