In the rapidly evolving response to combating community spread of the COVID-19 virus, and particularly in light of the NBA suspending their season after a player tested positive for the virus, the NHL has officially announced to suspend their season. There is no date scheduled for a return, no plans regarding playing makeup games, and no information on how this will impact playoffs — or events that follow afterwards, like free agency or the annual draft.
Additionally, the Kings have released the following statement:
Due to the recent developments with the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, the NHL has paused the NHL season and will use this hiatus to determine next steps for moving forward.
In addition, the State of California has determined that all mass gatherings should be postponed or cancelled for the immediate future.
The LA Kings support these directives and remain committed to the safety and well-being of our fans, partners, players and staff during this unprecedented time that is impacting our entire community.
As this situation continues to evolve, we remain committed to delivering timely details as new information is available and encourage everyone to follow the health and safety guidelines as outlined by the CDC and WHO.
Aside from the general public health concern of holding large gatherings of many thousands of people, there is heightened concerns due to the fact that so many NHL teams share facilities with NBA teams. Given the highly communicable nature of this virus, limiting exposure for everyone — teams, staff, arena workers, the general public, and, of course families, friends, and everyone who comes in contact with those individuals — is the first priority.
The decision to suspend the season was made without opposition by anyone on the NHL Board of Governors.
Board of Governors call just ended. There was no opposition to pausing the season. No official vote held. Bettman asked if there was any opposition and there wasn’t.— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) March 12, 2020
The AHL has followed suit and is suspending the remainder of their season, effective immediately. Like the NHL, there is no date set to resume play.
Other minor, junior, and amateur leagues have announced suspensions or, in the case of the NCAA, outright cancellation for several of the conferences of the remainder of their playoffs. The Frozen Four is still currently scheduled to happen, albeit without fans in attendance, but with so many conferences cancelling their playoffs, it seems impossible for there to be a way for the Frozen Four tournament to move forward.
The Hockey East Association has announced that the 2020 Hockey East Men’s Tournament will not be played due to concerns over the COVID-19 health situation.— Hockey East (@hockey_east) March 12, 2020
The Canadian Hockey League, which oversees the WHL, OHL, and QMJHL, has decided to suspend their season, as well.
The #CHL announces that the balance of the 2019-20 season and all hockey related activity shall be paused immediately until further notice.— CanadianHockeyLeague (@CHLHockey) March 12, 2020
STATEMENT : https://t.co/nI1HuSoAF7 pic.twitter.com/PapQjL99es
In uncertain times, we still intend to be here for all of you as a resource, and, perhaps more importantly, as a community. Our virtual doors will still be open and in the days to come we’ll work together to find a path forward to provide hopefully a small dose of entertainment and maybe even levity. Our hearts go out to all the people who are struggling because of this, whether it’s because of physical or mental health concerns, economically, or any other reason.