On Thursday, the National Hockey League said the season has been suspended immediately due to the global coronavirus outbreak.
Announced by NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman in a statement after an emergency conference call with the board of governors, the decision came a day after the NBA suspended its season until further notice after a player tested positive for coronavirus. Bettman said that since NHL teams share facilities and locker rooms with NBA clubs it now seems likely a member of the NHL community will test positive at some point and therefore it was no longer appropriate to play games. Said Bettman, “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.”
The NHL has 24 teams in the United States and seven in Canada, and the league’s Stanley Cup Playoffs usually begin in early April.