The National Hockey League’s “break” in the 2019-20 season will not end soon.
After the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Sunday called for meetings with more than 50 people to be closed, the NHL and the NHL Players’ Association issued memos to league players on Monday detailing the latest protocols .
Last week, players were advised to return to their club’s home base, isolate themselves, and wait for further instructions – in the hope that they could use the club’s facilities for skating and training in the near future.
That changed on Monday. As international air traffic becomes increasingly limited, players can now return to their homes, even outside of North America, if flights are available.
When they arrive at their destination, they are asked to continue the self-quarantine until at least March 27 or longer, if required by local authorities.
If the spread of COVID-19 caused by the coronavirus is brought under control in the coming weeks, the league suggests opening a training camp period in about 45 days.
The CDC’s 60-day period runs until mid-May, usually the time of the second or third round of the playoffs.
The regular season was interrupted after last Wednesday’s games and there were 11 to 14 games left on each team’s schedule. The league has already announced that it will be considering games until July, but NHL commissioner Gary Bettman has also said that he wants the 2020-21 season to continue as usual. A deadline has to be set at some point in order to have time for off-season business such as the design and the free agency.
Bettman also said that the Stanley Cup is a priority. Since 1893, there have been only two instances where the trophy has not been awarded – 1919 when the Stanley Cup final was interrupted after five games due to an outbreak of Spanish influenza, and 2005 due to the lockout that wiped out the whole of 2004. 05 season.
If the season continues, we may see a completely different playoff format – possibly with more teams than the usual 16.
When the game was interrupted last week, only four teams in the Western Conference and five in the Eastern Conference were more than four points away from a playoff spot.
League players stay connected to fans through social media.
It is not yet known that an NHL player or a manager has tested positive for COVID-19. Positive tests were confirmed for a part-time Arena employee at the San Jose Sharks SAP Center and an office worker at the Vancouver Canucks.
The Sharks announced last Thursday that the SAP Center employee most recently worked on the Sharks game on March 3. The local health authority had determined that the exposure to the public was low and that no additional precautions were necessary.
Canucks’ COO, Trent Carroll, announced on Sunday that the team closed its offices on Monday and is preparing to work as far from home as possible. Carroll also stressed that the local health authority has confirmed that the public exposure risk is low in this case because the employee concerned has no fan role in the organization and has no contact with players and hockey staff or part-time arena- Employee.
Many teams in the league have stepped up to offer some form of support or compensation to Arena employees who lose income due to missed events.