The National Hockey League has suspended the 2019-20 season amidst the coronavirus pandemic, it announced Thursday.
“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,” commissioner Gary Bettman said in a statement.
Bettman continued: “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.”
The decision comes one day after Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for the coronavirus prior to Utah’s game against the Oklahoma City Thunder. ESPN reported Gobert’s teammate Donovan Mitchell also tested positive. The NBA suspended the remainder of its season Wednesday.
In the aftermath, other sporting leagues and events have suspended operations; multiple college basketball tournaments, including the Western Athletic Conference and Pac-12’s tournaments that were to take place in Las Vegas. Major League Baseball is suspending the remainder of spring training and could pause the start to its season. Major League Soccer is also suspending its season for the next 30 days.
Bettman said the plan is for the NHL season to resume at some point for completion.
“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,” Bettman said. “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.”
The Vegas Golden Knights were scheduled to play the Minnesota Wild today at 5 p.m. The NHL ordered a cancellation of all morning skates, practices and team meetings that were set to take place. The Golden Knights, who are in first place in the Pacific Division at time of play stoppage, are en route back to Las Vegas from St. Paul at time of publication.
This story will be updated with more information as its provided.
As for Knights On Ice going forward, there will be a gameplan for content that will be announced at a later date. Please stay safe.