The NHL Is Taking The Pause That Won’t Refresh

Games are being postponed all over the continent.

The National Hockey League is shutting down the season until December 26th because of the outbreak of Omicron not only among league personnel but also in the population of the league’s cities in the United States and Canada. Here is a note to the NHL Commissioner Garry Bettman, the Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly, the 32 owners along with the Executive Director of the National Hockey League Players Association Donald Fehr. Omicron is not going to magically disappear on December 26th when the league will allow practice facilities to reopen. The NHL, the National Basketball Association, the National Football League along with college sports have a serious problem at hand. How to safely move ahead with an exponential Omicron outbreak. The NHL is not requiring players to get booster shots now and as incredible as this sounds, the NHL and the NHLPA would probably have to collectively bargain a booster mandate during a public health crisis.

The NHL and the NBA do business in the US and Canada and going across the border may become more difficult until health authorities get a handle on Omicron. The NHL has had 49 games postponed so far, but 44 of those have come very recently with the Delta and Omicron variants spreading across North America. The NHL decided to allow New York Islanders games to proceed in November despite 40 percent of the Islanders roster sidelined by COVID-19. The NBA has postponed five games this week. Christmas Day is the annual NBA season coming out party, but two games might be in jeopardy, Atlanta at New York and Brooklyn at Los Angeles Lakers match because Atlanta and Brooklyn have players in COVID-19 protocol. The NBA will allow teams to sign players to fill up roster space to replace those in COVID-19 protocols until January 19th. There is no guarantee Omicron will be gone by then.

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. (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)