NHL, Sharks, Suspend All Games Due to COVID-19 Concerns

The Capital One Arena, home of the Washington Capitals NHL hockey club, sits empty Thursday, March 12, 2020, in Washington. The NHL is following the NBA’s lead and suspending its season amid the coronavirus outbreak, the league announced Thursday (photo from usnews.com)

By Mary Walsh

On Thursday the NHL announced a pause in the season. They released a statement that read, in part:

In light of ongoing developments resulting from the coronavirus, and after consulting with medical experts and convening a conference call of the Board of Governors, the National Hockey League is announcing today that it will pause the 2019-20 season beginning with tonight’s games.

The move came on the heels of the NBA’s decision to suspend their season after one of their players tested positive for the new virus. Other leagues and events in the US are being suspended or cancelled daily due to concerns over the virus.

The San Jose Sharks had previously announced that March games would be played without fans and only limited media access, consistent with Santa Clara County’s March 9 ban large gatherings of people. After today’s NHL announcement, the Sharks released the following press release about the status of games and tickets:

The National Hockey League has announced today that the 2019-20 NHL regular season will be paused for the safety of its players, employees, and fans in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Sharks Sports & Entertainment is fully supportive of the NHL’s decision.

With NHL games now being placed on hold as opposed to played without fans, ticket holders are asked to hang on to their tickets until additional information from the NHL becomes available.

As new developments arise, we will communicate with our fans and partners. We appreciate your patience and understanding.

The AHL has also suspended play, which puts the San Jose Barracuda and Stockton Heat and their fans in the same state of limbo as the Sharks.

The NHL expressed the hope that the season could resume at an appropriate time. There are 189 regular season games remaining, as well as the Stanley Cup playoffs. For the complete statement, go to the NHL website.

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