The NHL announced on Thursday afternoon that the remainder of the 2019-20 season will be postponed due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
The Chicago Blackhawks season has officially been placed on hold, as the NHL announced that the season is “paused” due to Coronavirus concerns on Thursday.
“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,” Commissioner Gary Bettman said in the statement.
The NHL has also cancelled all team practices, meetings, and travel for the time being. The current plan is for the season to pick back up at some point, but if it doesn’t, at least the Blackhawks ended the year with a dominant 6-2 victory over the San Jose Sharks. With last night’s win, the Blackhawks are 32-30-8 through 70 games and sit six points back of the Nashville Predators for the second wild-card playoff spot.
For the Blackhawks players, Wednesday’s postgame was filled with chaos after news of Rudy Gobert’s positive test for Coronavirus broke. Forward Patrick Kane told reporters that the team wasn’t aware of the developing situation from the staff during the game.
“I guess things are getting pretty real around here,” Kane said. “It is what it is. We’ll take the recommendations that we get and hope it passes by soon. As players, you want to keep playing the games and keep the season going and for us, I think we were pretty excited about this three-game stretch we had here, San Jose, Ottawa, and Washington and trying to win these games and get ourselves back into it again.”
Defenseman Duncan Keith also spoke about the difficulty of the situation for the NHL players.
“This is a first for us to be in this situation,” Keith said. “You kind of have to leave it up to some of the people in charge to make those decisions on what they feel is best and have faith that they know what they’re doing. You never want to see anybody — let alone an athlete or an NBA player– have to go through it.”
With the NHL, NBA, MLB, and MLS all putting a pause on their current seasons, things could get fairly dry for the sports fans out there. Let’s hope that the COVID-19 outbreak gets contained as effectively and swiftly as possible so that these great sports can return to our lives.
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