The empty visitors NHL hockey locker room is seen at Capital One Arena in Washington, Thursday, March 12, 2020. The Washington Capitals were to play the Detroit Red Wings later tonight. The NHL is following the NBA’s lead and suspending its season because of the coronavirus pandemic. NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman announced Thursday it is pausing its season, one day after the NBA suspended play after a player tested positive Wednesday for COVID-19.(AP Photo/Nick Wass)

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman Reacts to Virus

A week ago, the National Hockey League (NHL) made the decision to suspend the remainder of their regular season. This news came following word of NBA player Rudy Gobert testing positive for the coronavirus.

The NHL league suspension is just one of many parts of a sporting world that has come to a complete halt. The NBA made a similar decision to suspend their season indefinitely. Meanwhile, the MLB has delayed Opening Day to a currently undisclosed date.

The CDC urged a national halt of any activities involving 50 or more people for the next eight weeks. Several leagues have referenced this warning in their decision making.

With the NHL regular season scheduled to end April 4, this leaves 189 games still to be played. At the time of the league suspension, each team had played at least 68 regular-season games.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman spoke on ESPN’s Get Up Thursday morning about his plans for this season, as well as the next.

The Ottawa Senators announced Tuesday night that one of their players tested positive for the coronavirus. This was, and still remains, the only known coronavirus case throughout the league.

The NHL initially urged players to stay in the cities they played in. However, on Monday it sent a memo telling players they could travel anywhere.

The ’20-’21 Season

Decision-makers also have to think of the 2020-2021 regular season while thinking of ways to conclude the current season.

“I believe that, under the current circumstances, we can go later than we’ve ever gone. How late is a good question,” said Bettman.

Bettman supplemented this thought by explaining how people within the league are deciding on how late is too late to continue the current season.

The Stanley Cup Finals typically take place in late May and early June. Next season’s regular season is scheduled to begin on October 7, 2020.

All of these dates are up in the air, however, with the fluidity of the coronavirus. For league commissioners like Gary Bettman, the current state of the sporting world is truly unprecedented.

About Parker Fluke

I'm a third-year student at the University of Florida passionate about storytelling and sportswriting. My goal is to work in communications for a professional sports team after I graduate.

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