The NHL has decided to follow in the footsteps of the NBA and suspend its season, due to the global coronavirus pandemic.
The league organized a conference call with the governors of the 31 formations. She then confirmed her decision in a press release.
“Due to developments related to the coronavirus, and after consulting medical experts (…) the National Hockey League announces today that it is interrupting the 2019-20 season,” said the Bettman circuit.
“The NHL is trying to follow the recommendations of health experts and local authorities, while preparing for all eventualities without taking premature or unnecessary action,” it said. However, following the news that an NBA player tested positive for coronavirus – and since our leagues share several arenas and facilities, it is now likely that a member of the NHL community will test positive for at some point – it is no longer appropriate to try to continue presenting our matches. ”
The NHL did not specify the length of the break from its activities.
“Our goal is to resume play as soon as it is appropriate and prudent to do so in order to end the season and hand in the Stanley Cup,” said circuit Bettman.
The Montreal Canadiens were quick to issue a press release to comment on the situation.
“The club supports the NHL’s decision, which takes the necessary measures to control the risk of the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). He takes very seriously the health and safety of the fans, the employees as well as all the players and the staff of the team ”, one could read in the document.
“Ticket holders are invited to keep their tickets. They will receive a communication later to be informed of the procedures to be followed, depending on the sequence of events. We would like to thank all the supporters for their support and understanding, ”concluded the CH.
The NBA announced its decision Wednesday night following a positive test at COVID-19 of a Utah Jazz player. The NHL and the NBA share some amphitheatres.
According to information reported by the New York Post daily, the NHL asked the teams to keep available dates in their arena until the end of July.
The spread of COVID-19 has led to quarantine in countries like Italy, where soccer and all other sports were suspended until April 3.
The Premier of Quebec, François Legault, announced earlier Thursday that the Montreal Canadiens will have to play behind closed doors if the NHL does not suspend its activities. He made the statement after announcing that the rallies inside more than 250 people were to be canceled.
The Canadian was scheduled to face the Buffalo Sabers Thursday evening. He had 11 games to play this season, including four at home, including the one against the Sabers.
The San Jose Sharks and Columbus Blue Jackets announced Wednesday that their home games will be held behind closed doors. These decisions were made in response to restrictions imposed by various counties in the United States regarding mass gatherings.
The NHL had first indicated on Wednesday evening that it would not suspend its activities, but it finally changed its rifle Thursday.
If the season’s suspension were to continue and lead to the cancellation of the campaign, it would be the third time in its history that the NHL has not awarded the Stanley Cup to a team. There was no winner in 1919 due to an epidemic of Spanish flu and in 2005 due to a lockout.
The World Under-18 Championship, slated for April in Plymouth and Ann Arbor, Michigan, has been canceled. A decision was expected regarding the presentation of the world hockey championship, scheduled for May 8 to 24 in Zurich and Lausanne, Switzerland.
The Canadian Hockey League also had to make an announcement during the day.