As of Monday, the NHL had postponed more than 40 games due to COVID-19 outbreaks during the 2021-2022 season and had shut down 10 teams through the league’s scheduled holiday break due to COVID-19 concerns.
Monday evening, the league took it a step further, starting the NHL’s holiday break a few days early and postponing five scheduled games on Thursday. The league currently has two games still scheduled for Tuesday night, with eight games originally scheduled for Tuesday postponed.
“With no games currently scheduled for Wednesday, Dec. 22, because of COVID-related postponements, the National Hockey League and National Hockey League Players Association have agreed to postpone five games that remain scheduled for Thursday, Dec. 23, in order to begin the collectively-bargained Holiday Break effective with the conclusion of games tomorrow night, Dec. 21,” the NHL announced.
The holiday break was originally scheduled for December 24-26.
“Players will report back to their Clubs on Dec. 26, which shall be used for testing, practice, and/or travel only,” the statement continued. The league also stated that “no individual in the team’s traveling party” will be able to enter the facility without a negative COVID-19 test. The league will resume play Monday, December 27.
The @NHL and @NHLPA have agreed to begin the Holiday Break after Tuesday’s games. Practices will resume on Dec. 26 and the League’s regular-season schedule will resume on Dec. 27. https://t.co/0Bmu8dlZ1M pic.twitter.com/JHbxtzMX6D
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) December 21, 2021
Sunday, the league announced that they did not intend for a league-wide shut down, and will determine whether individual teams need to be shut down on a case-by-case basis.
“Although there has been a recent increase in positive COVID test results among players, coaches and hockey staff, there have been a low number of positive cases that have resulted in concerning symptoms or serious illness,” the NHL said in a statement. “Therefore, the NHLPA’s and NHL’s medical experts have determined that, with virtually all players and club hockey staff fully vaccinated, the need to temporarily shut down individual teams should continue to be made on a case-by-case basis.”
The next question pertains to the NHL’s participation in the 2020 Beijing Winter Olympics, which begin February 4 and run through February 20.
On Sunday, the league and the Players Association announced that a decision will be made in the coming days as to the NHL’s participation in the Winter Olympics.
“Given the disruption to the NHL’s regular-season schedule caused by recent COVID-related events – 27 games had been postponed as of Saturday and at least 12 more will be postponed through Dec. 23 – and the continued uncertainty caused by the ongoing COVID pandemic, the NHL and NHLPA are actively discussing the matter of NHL player participation in the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, China, and expect to be in a position to announce a final determination in the coming days,” the sides said in a joint statement.
While it appears that most players want to participate in the Winter Games, the quarantine requirements in China if a player is found positive are making some think twice.
“It’s obviously going to be a very fluid situation and we need to continue to gather all the information,” Edmonton Oilers star Connor McDavid said last week. “There hasn’t been a ton of information come out and all of a sudden there’s the three-to-five week thing that’s been floating around.”
According to reports, the IOC informed the NHL that a player that tests positive for COVID-19 must return two negative tests 24 hours apart or face Chinese quarantine laws, which can last anywhere from 21 days to five weeks.
Joe Morgan is the Sports Reporter for The Daily Wire. Most recently, Morgan covered the Clippers, Lakers, and the NBA for Sporting News. Send your sports questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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