NHL

How coronavirus could impact the NHL, this season and beyond

The league is exploring "contingency plans" due to health concerns.

The NHL's preseason trip to China, which the Bruins participated in two seasons ago, is "unlikely" to continue next year because of coronavirus. STR / AFP

As coronavirus becomes more of a concern in North America, the NHL is “starting explore contingency plans” for this season’s playoffs and beyond, according to ESPN’s Emily Kaplan.

NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly did not rule out postponing or canceling games, or prohibiting fans from attending games, as reported by ESPN. There is no deadline for this decision to be made.

Kaplan reported the league sent out a memo to all 31 NHL clubs with best practices, and Daly said the NHL’s joint health and safety committee “has been on top of this.”

Daly also said it is “unlikely” the league will travel to China next season, “in part because of this [health crisis].” The NHL played preseason games in China in 2017 and 2018, but missed 2019 because of logistical issues.

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Scheduled events in the Czech Republic, Germany, Switzerland, and Finland for next season are unaffected as of now.

“It’s totally situation specific, but we have to think through all the possibilities,” Daly said. “The leagues are all starting to do that, focusing on what we should do in a given situation.

“But obviously first and foremost, you listen to the health authorities and what they are telling you and what their concerns are and what their recommendations are. Right now, the CDC and Public Health Canada are both saying rely on local health organizations and agencies, so we’ll take our lead from them.”

 

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