The National Hockey League (NHL) has announced that it’s pausing the 2019-20 season in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
The news comes hours after the National Basketball Association (NBA) announced that it was cancelling the season indefinitely in response to a Utah Jazz player’s recent coronavirus diagnosis.
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) March 12, 2020
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman announced the suspension of the season in a statement.
“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,” Bettman wrote.
“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.”
Bettman says the NHL will continue to monitor medical advice and recommend that its staff and players exercise proper precautions.
“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.”
Cover photo courtesy of the Toronto Maple Leaf’s official Facebook page