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NHL joins in social distancing strategy to combat COVID-19, suspends season

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2020 NHL All-Star - Commissioner Gary Bettman Media Availability Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images

The NHL announced today that they are temporarily suspending the season as public health officials continue to implore organizations to minimize large social gatherings in order to slow the spread of COVID-19, the new coronavirus that is already responsible for health crises in multiple countries worldwide.

The NHL’s decision follows a similar one made by the NBA last night after one of its players, Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz, tested positive for the virus before his game in Salt Lake City. While no NHL player has tested positive for COVID-19 as of the announcement, the two leagues share multiple venues and locker rooms. While the league may have been considering similar action already, that development all but forces the league to stop play for the foreseeable future.

Other large sports organizations will likely follow suit. The NCAA is already planning to play its annual basketball tournament without fans in the arena but even that will likely become an untenable situation in the coming days. Major League Baseball’s season has not started yet but it seems unlikely their spring exhibition schedule will be able to continue much longer.

As a hockey fan blog, this is a topic that is well outside our area of expertise and our only comments for now will be to encourage you to listen to your local health experts and follow the guidelines they suggest.

We’re unsure of what the next few weeks and months will hold and frankly, the sports part of things seems an exceedingly small concern. That said, we will continue to keep you updated on the news as it relates to the NHL and attempt to provide some hockey content if you’re looking for something lighter to read.

This is a time of uncertainty for all of us here at the blog and we don’t want to put our heads in the sand but we also don’t want to feign expertise we don’t have. So we’ll do our best to bring appropriate coverage of the news while sticking to what we know, which is mostly arguing about who the sixth defender on the depth chart should be or who the team should consider drafting in the second round.

So do your part to flatten the curve and when you have some down time, pop in over here to tell us why we’re wrong about Barclay Goodrow.