The NHL suspended the 2019-20 season, becoming the next major professional sports league to take action due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The league 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.
On-ice officials who were originally scheduled to work Thursday’s slate of games have been instructed to book flights home, TSN’s Pierre LeBrun reported.
After Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert was diagnosed with coronavirus on Wednesday, the NBA suspended play for the rest of the season immediately.