The coronavirus has created chaos to the sports and hockey world in just the last day.  

NHL

The NHL adds to the list of those who will suspend play. 

Gary Bettman, the NHL Commissioner, released a statement on Thursday announcing a pause to the 2019-2020 season that will begin immediately. The statement includes the recent news of an NBA player who was found to have the virus. 

“However, following last night’s news that an NBA player has tested positive for the 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,” said Bettman. 

Pierre Lebrun reported that the Board of Governors had no oppositions to pause the season. 

The decision brings up numerous questions about games, players, staff and purchased tickets. Predators CEO and President Sean Henry addressed the media Thursday afternoon.  

“I like the approach we’re taking because you really don’t know what will happen next,” said Henry. “It really is a pause… after some time we can re-evaluate.” 

Nashville has played in 69 games, with 13 games of regular season remaining. There is not an answer yet for what will happen when play resumes, but Henry said the next question is when playing/practice can resume.  

Frank Servalli reported on Thursday morning to Twitter that he heard teams have been asked to provide arena building availability through the end of July. During the press conference, Henry said they’re always looking at NHL availability through at-least June, but also have looked at other months in the summer.  

“The goal for the players is to get them home from Toronto and stay in our community,” said Henry. “During this NHL pause we probably won’t practice, we want these players to self-isolate.”  

The pause of a season creates several obstacles to overcome, including the concern for arena workers. Bridgestone Arena was set to host the five-day SEC Basketball Tournament, before the conference decided to cancel before the remaining three-days. Henry said that employees missing the SEC this weekend will be paid for the shifts they were scheduled for and they will look at further events and put a plan together. 

With the most recent news, the Nashville Predators have reached a decision for fans who have purchased tickets. Henry stated that if games are lost, money will be refunded. This also holds for other events, such as the Preds and Threads Fashion Show. 

Before the season’s pause, NHL teams such as the Columbus Blue Jackets and San Jose Sharks were set to play the remaining home games with no fans in the building.  

Further reports are to come. 

College hockey

The ACHA Championship Tournament was set to begin in Frisco, Texas on March 19 before being cancelled on Thursday. 

The American Collegiate Hockey Association, the governing body for non-varsity college hockey in the United States, would have crowned the National Champions for Men’s Divisions 1, 2, 3 and Women’s Divisions 1 and 2 at the end of the 10-day event. 

“We are incredibly disappointed to have to cancel our National Tournament. However, the safety of our teams and student-athletes is of paramount concern.  With the recent actions taken by USA Hockey and other major sports leaders, together with the uncertainty regarding the current public health situation, we felt it necessary to be proactive and take this preventative measure to mitigate, suppress, and delay the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).  The ACHA apologizes for any inconvenience; however, we believe we are acting in the best interests of the ACHA’s student-athletes, their families and fans, by taking this extraordinary action.” 

ACHA Executive Director Craig Barnett

The South Eastern Collegiate Hockey Conference would have been represented by the South Carolina Gamecocks and Arkansas Razorbacks after their victories in the Men’s Division 3 South Regionals and auto-bid to Nationals respectively. 

The ACHA is currently set to hold the Men’s Division 3 All-Star Challenge in Pennsylvania and the 2020 ACHA Annual Meeting in Florida, and said they will continue to provide regular updates regarding the coronavirus and its impact of their events.  

Recommendations for Disease Prevention

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves.
  • Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.

For additional information about Coronavirus outbreak, visit the Centers for Disease Control website or the World Health Organization website.