The 2019-20 season of National Hockey League (NHL) has been suspended until further notice owing to coronavirus fears. Gary Bettman, the Commissioner of the league announced via a statement recently that considering the ongoing developments related to Covid-19 and after detailed consultations with medical experts and Board of Governors, the NHL has paused the ongoing season starting March 12, 2020.
The NHL players Association termed the decision as the right course of action. It came within 24 hours of suspension of the NBA, after a player in the basketball league tested positive for novel coronavirus. Bettman admitted that the suspension of NBA was one of the factors in pausing the NHL season. He shared that it’s only a matter of time that someone from the NHL community would also test positive for the virus, and in that light it’d not appropriate to continue playing games.
NBA cancelled the game between Utah Jazz and Oklahoma City Thunder at the last minute on March 11th, Wednesday night, after Rudy Gobert, the Jazz’ centre player tested positive for Covid-19.
The Toronto Raptors announced the next day that the travelling staff, coaches and players had been advised to self-isolate themselves for at least a couple of weeks. As a cautionary measure, the Raptors’ travelling party and team members were tested for coronavirus.
NHL Suspension a wise decision
It’s worth noting that several NHL teams share their arenas with NBA teams, including Toronto Raptors and the Toronto Maple Leafs. NHL is currently urging community members to take all possible precautions, including self-quarantining themselves, if required. The NHL statement was released only a few hours after it instructed the teams to cancel their meetings and practices with immediate effect. Needless to say, considering the extensive NHL odds that are offered by several bookmakers, the move is also expected to have a major impact on NHL betting world.
Bettman has revealed that NHL will resume the paused season as soon as things get back to normal, so that they can get through with the remaining games in a worry-free environment, and hand over the Stanley Cup to the rightfully deserving team.
The American Hockey League and the Canadian Hockey League have also put their respective seasons on hold. The suspension of NHL is amongst the many high profile sports event cancellations that have happened in North America lately. A large number of political rallies, music concerts, sporting events, festivals and conferences have gotten nixed in the fear of coronavirus spreading pretty swiftly among large crowd gatherings.
The Canadian and US Health officials have advised people to refrain from gathering in large numbers and to avoid crowded places. It should be noted that a normal NHL arena seats anywhere from 15,000 to 20,000 fans.
At the time of writing this piece, over 170,000 people across the world have been diagnosed with Covid-19. There have been over 6,500 deaths due to the virus so far.