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NHL suspends regular season over coronavirus concerns

Last Updated Mar 12, 2020 at 6:36 pm EDT

File photo of the NHL logo. THE ASSOCIATED PRESS/Mark Humphrey

The NHL has announced it is suspending regular season games due to coronavirus concerns.

It is unclear when or if the 2019-20 campaign will resume.

The move comes after the NBA suspended its schedule Wednesday night following news a player for the Utah Jazz tested positive for COVID-19

“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 and continue to play games at this time,” read a statement from the NHL.

There are 189 games left on the NHL’s regular-season schedule, which is set to conclude April 4.

It’s unclear what the suspension of proceedings means for those games or the playoffs.

“Our goal is to resume play as soon as it is appropriate and prudent, so that we will be able to complete the season and award the Stanley Cup.”

The NHLPA issued a statement, calling the temporary suspension “an appropriate course of action at this time.”

“The players are looking forward to the opportunity to resume play in front of hockey fans everywhere.”

If the NHL is eventually forced to go a step further and cancel the season and playoffs, it would mark the third time since 1893 the Stanley Cup hasn’t been awarded.

The Spanish flu forced the cancellation of the 1919 Cup final, while the entire 2004-05 campaign was lost to a lockout.

Another work stoppage shortened the 2012-13 season to 48 games, plus the playoffs.

Sports leagues and tours around the world have either cancelled or postponed games and events as the coronavirus spreads.

Major League Baseball suspended the rest of its spring training game schedule and delayed the start of its season by at least two weeks. Opening day had been scheduled for March 26.

The decision announced by Commissioner Rob Manfred on Thursday left open whether each team would still play a 162-game schedule.

Major League Soccer said it would suspend its season for 30 days, adding it would communicate plans for the continuation of the season at the appropriate time.

The CFL cancelled its regional and national combines in the wake of the growing outbreak.

The CFL was scheduled to hold its Ontario regional combine Thursday in Toronto while the East Regional was scheduled for Friday in Baie-D’Urfe, Que.

The West Regional was slated for March 20 in Edmonton. The national combine was scheduled for Toronto on March 26-28.

March Madness will not take place after the NCAA cancelled both the men’s and women’s Division I basketball tournaments.

The NCAA Tournament generates more than $900 million for the association and its hundreds of member schools.

The PGA Tour said it plans to keep playing, just without anyone watching from outside the ropes.

Commissioner Jay Monahan said Thursday that fans will not be allowed at the final three days of The Players Championship or three other tournaments – one in Florida, two in Texas – leading up to the Masters.

The LPGA Tour has postponed three events including the first major championship of the season – the ANA Inspiration.

LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan said he’s “fully committed to rescheduling these important events on our 2020 schedule,” especially the ANA Inspiration.

The ATP called off all men’s professional tennis tournaments for the next six weeks while the WTA said it would make an announcement about upcoming events “shortly.”

The next Grand Slam tournament, the French Open, is still scheduled to be held in Paris beginning May 24.

The National Lacrosse League, which has teams based in Toronto, Saskatoon, Halifax, Vancouver and Calgary has suspended its season due to concerns over the spread of COVID-19.