The National Hockey League was already on thin ice with 15% of its players in COVID-19 protocols on Monday, and now it’s the first North American professional sports league to fully halt its season.
On Monday night, the NHL and NHLPA announced a pause in play from Wednesday through Saturday, with all facilities closed. The night of the announcement, 10 teams were already shut down.
The league lost nearly $3.6 billion in revenue last season due to attendance restrictions and a shortened season. While games have not been completely cancelled this season, the league still has a hike to get back on track.
Teams are still expected to return on Sunday for practice and coronavirus testing, however the Capitals-Flyers game next Monday was postponed Tuesday afternoon.
- A total of 44 games have already been postponed this season. All but five happened in the last week.
- Monday’s game and the five originally scheduled for this Thursday will add to that total.
Pending test results, Tuesday’s games are still on the schedule.
The league unveiled new protocols on Saturday for teams: masks in club facilities and while traveling, daily tests for players and staff, virtual team meetings, and no holiday parties. The guidelines will be reevaluated by Jan. 7.
On Sunday, the league announced it would suspend travel between the U.S. and Canada. The NHL and NHLPA reportedly also entered an agreement on Tuesday to not participate in the Beijing Olympics in February.