Boston Bruins

Mar 15, 2020; Tampa, Florida, USA; A general view of Amalie Arena where today’s NHL game between the New Jersey Devils at Tampa Bay Lightning has been cancelled due to the COVID-19 virus. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

By Ty Anderson,

The Tampa Bay Lightning will have to temporarily close their training facility following positive COVID-19 tests for three players and additional staff members, the team confirmed Friday.

“Those players have been self-isolated following CDC protocols and are asymptomatic other than a few cases of low-grade fever,” the team’s statement read. “Those who have been in contact with these individuals have been notified. The Lightning continue testing and are strictly following all NHL and government procedures as part of the league’s Phase 2 guidelines. Upon receiving positive tests yesterday, team training facilities were immediately closed with all players and staff being sent home. Those facilities will remain temporarily shut down until we can ensure a safe environment.”

The Lightning are not the first organization to be hit with a positive test, of course, but they’re undoubtedly the hardest hit organization to date, with three players and multiple staff members coming up positive. The Bruins, for what it’s worth, had a positive test of their own but have been incident-free (to date) since reopening Warrior Ice Arena.

The Lightning were not the only pro sports team in Tampa to be impacted, too, as the Buccaneers have imposed a self-quarantine after an assistant coach tested positive for the coronavirus this week. Tampa mayor Jane Castor has since announced a mandatory mask order for the city.

The positive tests for the Bolts also come with Florida in the midst of what is its worst outbreak of the entire pandemic, with a record 3,822 new cases reported on Friday, bringing the total number of cases in the Sunshine State up to 89,748.

“The Lightning are steadfast in doing all that we can to ensure the health and safety of our players, staff, fans, and the community,” their statement added. “With a significant rise in cases in the City of Tampa, Hillsborough County and the State of Florida we are imploring everyone in the Bay Area, especially young people, to help slow the spread of this pandemic by diligently following the recommendations of government officials by wearing a mask, practicing social distancing, and continuing to wash hands regularly. We need to work together as a community to slow the spread.”

The NHL remains in Phase 2 of their four-phase Return to Play plan, with an official training camp opening date set for July 10.

Ty Anderson is a writer and columnist for Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Yell at him on Twitter: @_TyAnderson.