The pandemic has hit hockey hard.
The hockey industry is reeling because of COVID-19. Just this week, the National Women’s Hockey League had to end its planned Lake Placid, New York based bubble tournament because of the COVID-19 epidemic. The league is hoping to finish the tournament in the future. But the hockey industry has been hit hard from the highest level, the National Hockey League, to various youth leagues. Scientists are trying to figure out why there seems to be an awful lot of COVID-19 hanging around ice rinks. The National Hockey League has seen teams suspend play this week because of COVID-19 outbreaks. In eastern Canada, the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League has set up three protective bubbles but there was a problem in Chicoutimi as the Victoriaville team had a COVID-19 outbreak and had to leave the bubble earlier this week and isolate for 14 days. The Quebec league suspended play in December because of COVID-19. The Quebec league includes other provinces, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick. Teams can play in Nova Scotia and PEI but the three teams in New Brunswick cannot play until local health officials lift COVID-19 restrictions.
The American Hockey League and the juniors’ Ontario Hockey League have an Ontario problem. The province is in a lockdown until February 9th although the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs and Ottawa Senators are playing home games and traveling through Canada. The Western Hockey League, another junior league, has not been able to play this year. But five teams housed in Alberta, Calgary, Edmonton, Lethbridge, Medicine Hat and Red Deer, have gotten approval from Alberta health officials to start a 24-game season beginning on February 26th. Four WHL teams in Everett, Seattle, Tacoma and Tri-City are good to go after Washington state health officials green lighted playing plans. COVID-19 remains a problem.
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