This article was updated on 10:40 am PDT to include portions of the official statement made by NHL Commissioner, Gary Bettmen
Update 12:34 pm PDT: Inside the Glass discusses the latest developments
Update 12:56 pm PDT: Includes updated information on the AHL season suspension
Hockey season is officially on pause. The National Hockey League has announced on Thursday it will be suspending the remainder of its season amid growing concerns surrounding the novel coronavirus, COVID-19.
“In light of on going developments resulting from the coronavirus,” NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman released in a statement. “The National Hockey League is announcing it will pause the 2019-20 season beginnig with tonight’s games.
“We will continue to monitor all the appropriate medical advice, and we will encourage our players and other members of the NHL community to take all reasonable precautions — including by self-quarantine where appropriate.”
#NHL season has been suspended. The league is on hiatus, with hope that it’s a short pause to protect player and staff health and safety.— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) March 12, 2020
The NHL will be joining the NBA and many major professional sporting leagues across the globe in electing to cancel or postpone all future events in efforts to limit the spread of the virus, which has already spread to over 120,000 cases globally and claimed the lives of over 4,000 people.
The NHL’s top level development league, the American Hockey League, also made the same decision to halt games following their own Board of Governors’ call shortly after the NHL’s announcement.
AHL just wrapped up Board of Governors conference call. It was decided the AHL will follow suit and also pause its season.— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) March 12, 2020
Speculation surrounding a potential postponement began circulating on Wednesday, in the immediate aftermath of the NBA’s decision to indefinitely suspend their season when news broke a player had tested positive for COVID-19. Pressure had been mounted across social media for the league to take some action, especially as a good number of NHL and NBA teams share arenas.
This isn’t the first time a major pandemic has stopped the NHL season. In 1919, game 5 of the Stanley Cup Finals was cancelled when many players on the Montreal Canadiens fell ill from the Spanish Flu outbreak. No champion could be declared that year.
The NHL has just under a month remaining in its regular season before beginning the Stanley Cup Playoffs. It is unknown at this time if and when the NHL will resume this season or host a postseason.
“Our goal is to resume play as soon as it is appropriate and prudent,” Bettman’s statement continues. “So that we will be able to complete the season and award the Stanley Cup. Until then, we thank NHL fans for your patience and hope you stay healthy.”
We will provide updates here as we learn more.
Update: The Arizona Coyotes have released a FAQ regarding the ticket refund policy moving forward.