Editor's note: This article has been updated to remove irrelevant and misleading information.
The National Hockey League has opted to pause the 2019-20 season temporarily amid the growing concern and spread of the COVID-19 virus.
The decision comes on the heels of the National Basketball Association’s decision to suspend its season immediately after Utah Jazz All-Star Rudy Gobert tested positive for the coronavirus disease prior to a game against the Oklahoma City Thunder. At this time, no NHL player has tested positive for the virus.
Along with the NBA and NHL, Major League Soccer has suspended its season. all levels of USA hockey and most all European hockey leagues have cancelled their seasons.
“It is no longer appropriate to try to continue to play games at this time,” said NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman in a press release.
Already, two NHL teams, the San Jose Sharks and the Columbus Blue Jackets, had planned to play in “limited attendance” games after county and state governments passed mandates prohibiting mass gatherings. This meant that the teams would have played in essentially empty arenas as fan attendance would be restricted, but now no teams will be playing for the foreseeable future.
The Utah Jazz had been in Detroit Saturday to play the Pistons, just three days before the Carolina Hurricanes played the Red Wings. Both teams share Little Caesars Arena but use separate locker rooms.
The Canes were also one of the many teams who had been waiting in limbo as they had been in New Jersey for the final game of their six-game road trip. The team will now be heading back to Raleigh. No official plan has been set forth for them in regards to testing.
While the NHL decided to wait an extra day after the NBA’s major decision before making its call in regards to the future of the season, it is still a proactive enough decision to hopefully have a greater impact on the health of local communities.
“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,” Bettman said.