The National Hockey League may suspend the regular season of the 2019/2020 season due to the spread of the coronavirus, and this is no joke.
Following the NBA
The disease has reached the North American continent, where, despite all precautions, outbreaks of infection have already broken out. The NBA had to stop its regular season after a positive test for coronavirus was passed by Utah jazz player Rudy Gober. There are no reported cases in the NHL, but the hockey and basketball leagues are closely related.
“It would be surprising if the NHL season was not suspended. How can they keep playing if the virus continues to spread? Gober and his Utah team played last week against the Toronto raptors, who share a stadium with the Toronto maple leafs, was in Detroit at the little Caesars Arena, where the Red wings play, in Boston at Bruins stadium, and at Madison Square garden, where the Rangers play. Even if you play with empty stands, the League will not be able to guarantee the safety of players and staff.
According to sources, there was talk of a three-week break, but it is unclear whether they will be able to take control of the coronavirus in such a short time, ” – said the broadcaster’s columnist Chris Johnston.
Given that the virus spreads very quickly in a large crowd of people, the NBA’s measure is justified, and you can only imagine how Gober’s partners, who were in the same locker room with Him in the last few days, feel. If you consider that many stadiums share basketball and hockey, and basketball players and hockey players walk along the same corridors and stairs, ride in the same elevators, take the same railings and door handles, then the NHL has no choice.
The hockey season will be stopped — the League will announce this on Thursday evening, East coast time. Even though there are no cases in the NHL yet, League Commissioner Gary Bettman (by the way, who previously worked in the NBA) can not neglect at least a simple corporate solidarity with basketball.
“Based on what I know about Bettman and the League, I have no doubt that this will happen. Bettman and so did not suspend the games immediately, demonstrating a high level of leadership in relation to the situation,” — so commented on the suspension of the season, TSN columnist Craig button. “Is there an opportunity to play after the world health organization declared a pandemic? The NHL has only one option — stop the season,” added Button’s colleague Bruce Arthur As if “Spanish” 100 years ago.
There are 189 games left to play in the NHL regular season — just over three weeks on the calendar. The League is already developing several possible action plans, the most sparing of which is to move the remaining matches to April. Among the radical options — the complete cancellation of the remaining part of the regular season and, worst of all for North Americans, the cancellation of the Stanley Cup.
The Cup has only been played twice before. In 2005, the playoffs were not held due to the lockout, but in 1919, the world was also raging infection, called the Spanish flu.
“In 1919, the NHL champion Montreal Canadiens and the Pacific hockey Association winner Seattle Metropolitans played in the Stanley Cup final. That year, a deadly disease known as the Spanish flu spread around the world. In that series, there was a fierce struggle. In the fourth match, several players collapsed on the ice during the game, which was caused by exhaustion. After several players and the coach fell ill with the “Spaniard”, match # 6 was canceled, as was the rest of the series. After a few days after the cancellation, Montreal defender Joe Hall died — the cause was complications from the flu. This was one of two seasons in the NHL when the Stanley Cup was not played. The NHL has not changed its schedule yet because of the coronavirus, but there has been a similar case, ” said Fox columnist Thomas Barraby.
Many European hockey Championships have already been stopped. The 2020 World Cup in Switzerland is also under serious threat: in fact, the decision to cancel the world championship is an empty formality, since there is no tendency to reduce the spread of coronavirus.
“There are already concerns about the possibility of participation in the 2020 world Cup of hockey players from the NHL. The Swiss authorities will make a decision on Friday regarding the playoffs of their championship and will closely monitor this, because the IIHF has already canceled its entire calendar for March. The adult world Cup is an extremely important event for the international ice hockey Federation, because it is the largest source of profit for the organization. Its cancellation will be very painful, especially for those whose development depends on funding, ” Friedman said.