Following in the NBA’s footsteps, the National Hockey League has opted to pause its season in an attempt to slow the spread of coronavirus.
“The NHL has been attempting to follow the mandates of health experts and local authorities, while preparing for any possible developments without taking premature or unnecessary measures,” league commissioner Gary Bettman said in a statement on Thursday. “However, following last night’s news that an NBA player has tested positive for coronavirus — and given that our leagues share so many facilities and locker rooms and it now seems likely that some member of the NHL community would test positive at some point — it is no longer appropriate to try to continue to play games at this time.”
Bettman added that the NHL 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.”
The season’s suspension will begin with Thursday’s games. Though the regular season was slated to end on April 4, with playoffs beginning on April 8, Bettman said play will resume “as soon as it is appropriate and prudent.”
As noted in Bettman’s announcement, the NBA suspended its season on Wednesday after All-Star player Rudy Gobert, a member of the Utah Jazz, preliminarily tested positive for the coronavirus. The MLB, meanwhile, is expected to make an announcement sometime Thursday regarding its upcoming season.
The global coronavirus outbreak continues to affect TV shows and events, with more than 1,000 cases now reported in the United States. Survivor and The Amazing Race have delayed production on upcoming seasons; shows like The Tonight Show and Jeopardy! have begun filming without a live audience; and Riverdale has temporarily halted production after a crew member came in contact with a person who tested positive for the COVID-19 virus.