NHL Regular Season Already Has COVID-19 Problems

Without a game being played.

The National Hockey League is going to try and get through its regular season despite the COVID-19 pandemic ripping through North America. The San Jose Sharks cannot practice or play games in Santa Clara County, California and some teams have missed practices because of the virus. But the games must go on. The National Hockey League’s slate of games on January 14th  and January 15th will not feature match ups between the Dallas Stars and Florida Panthers as members of the Dallas team tested positive for COVID-19. Dallas’s first three games have been postponed. It is going to be a long year for the National Hockey League as the COVID-19 pandemic is not showing any signs of easing in the near future.

The hockey industry has seen many suspensions of schedules and minor league team owners in the American Hockey League and the ECHL are not even attempting to put a product on ice this year. Local governments have allowed National Hockey League teams to attempt to have games in local markets despite travel restrictions and bans. Teams cannot go across the US-Canada border which might bring up an interesting problem for the NHL if the pandemic is still raging at the time the Stanley Cup playoffs take place. Could a Canadian team play an American team and have games in each other’s cities?  Getting local health officials on board in Canada was a key to going forward with the schedule. Quebec has very tight restrictions and a curfew but Montreal Canadiens games for now will be allowed to go on in Montreal. Manitoba had to modify its COVID-19 health regulations and that allowed Winnipeg to play home games. NHL players and staff are tested daily for COVID-19 and that will continue through mid-February. There is money to be made from television and marketing partners.

Tampa Bay Lightning’s Brayden Point (21) scores against Dallas Stars goalie Anton Khudobin (35) as Stars’ Andrej Sekera (5) and Mattias Janmark (13) defend during first-period NHL Stanley Cup finals hockey game action in Edmonton, Alberta, Monday, Sept. 28, 2020. (Jason Franson/The Canadian Press via AP)

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