By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
Citing coronavirus outbreak concerns, the National Hockey League will follow the National Basketball Association and Major League Soccer and put their regular season on hold indefinitely beginning tonight, as NHL commissioner Gary Bettman's suggestion has been met with zero resistance from the NHL Board of Governors.
"The NHL has been attempting to follow the mandates of health experts and local authorities, while preparing for any possible developments without taking premature or unnecessary measures," Bettman said in a statement. "However, following last night’s news that an NBA player has tested positive for coronavirus – and given that our leagues share so many facilities and locker rooms and it now seems likely that some member of the NHL community would test positive at some point – it is no longer appropriate to try to continue to play games at this time."
The NHL's decision comes after positive tests for Utah's Rudy Gobert (and later Donovan Mitchell) postponed Wednesday's meeting between the Jazz and Thunder in Oklahoma City, and following a morning that saw NHL teams cancel their morning skates and practices. For a more Boston-focused look, the Jazz were in Boston for a meeting with the Celtics last Friday (and Gobert practiced at Emerson while in Boston), and the Bruins played the Tampa Bay Lightning at the arena the following night.
The Celtics will self-quarantine this weekend as a precautionary measure following their recent contact with the Jazz, and multiple sources also indicated to 98.5 The Sports Hub that the arena and offices of TD Garden were closed on Thursday.
As for the NHL, it would appear that the league and its player will approach things on a week-to-week basis with the hopes of getting back to normalcy and resuming the 2019-20 season at some point.
“We will continue to monitor all the appropriate medical advice, and we will encourage our players and other members of the NHL community to take all reasonable precautions – including by self-quarantine, where appropriate," Bettman's statement read. "Our goal is to resume play as soon as it is appropriate and prudent, so that we will be able to complete the season and award the Stanley Cup. Until then, we thank NHL fans for your patience and hope you stay healthy.”
The season will be put on hold with the Bruins atop the NHL with a league-best 100 points.