The National Hockey League is the latest to suspend its season amid concerns of COVID-19, better known as coronavirus.
The NHL is planning to suspend its season. Announcement coming soon. The league still hopes it can return at some point this spring, but obviously situation is fluid.— Emily Kaplan (@emilymkaplan) March 12, 2020
Earlier in the day, the league advised teams not to have morning skates, practices or team meetings.
Commissioner Gary Bettman released the following 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.
“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.”
The NHL's decision comes one day after the NBA suspended its season when a Utah Jazz player tested positive for the illness.
Major League Soccer has also suspended its season and other organizations are still holding events, but without fans present.
There has been no word as to whether or not any NHL players or staff have the virus.
The Tampa Bay Lightning were previously scheduled to play the Philadelphia Flyers Thursday night and released this statement: