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The National Hockey League is suspending the remainder of the season because of the coronavirus outbreak, the organization said Thursday.
“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,” the league said in a statement. “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 statement further read: “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 National Hockey League Players’ Association, a labor union, called the move “appropriate.”
On Monday, the league and union announced the season postponement would likely be longer than first thought; players informed they can go home — their home state, not team state — and must self-isolate through March 27 while the season is on hold. The NHL cautioned it will not be able to provide further guidance on the potential reopening of team practices for another 45 days, making May the earliest possible restart date.
The original postponement news came just one day after the National Basketball League paused its season after a player on the Utah Jazz tested positive for coronavirus. A second player tested positive shortly thereafter.
Both leagues toyed with the idea of playing the rest of their seasons without spectators in the arena, but that was scrapped as worry over the ever growing virus intensifies.
The NCAA announced Wednesday that all championship events, including the Division I men’s and women’s basketball tournaments, aka March Madness, will take place with only essential staff and limited family in attendance.
Major League Baseball is also planning on how to handle its season with some cities and states, such as California, greatly limiting the number of people who can gather at a single location.
As of Thursday, Disneyland and Universal Studios Hollywood remained open. Officials from both parks outlined what was being done for coronavirus preventive measures.
March 16, 10:10 a.m.: Updated with new information from the league and players’ union.
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