The National Hockey League said Thursday that it has paused its season, beginning with games set to take place on Thursday, over concerns about the spread of the new coronavirus.
Commissioner Gary Bettman said the news from the NBA that a player had tested positive had influenced the NHL's decision.
“[F]ollowing 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,” Bettman said in a statement.
He said the decision was made in an attempt to follow health mandates and the league will continue to monitor medical advice. The league hopes to resume play “as soon as it is appropriate and prudent.”
NHL postseason was set to begin on April 8. No end date was set for the season’s pause.
The NHL's decision comes less than a day after the NBA became the first major professional sports league to suspend play due to coronavirus.
Since then, many other competitions have been canceled including all major college conference basketball tournaments.
The major NCAA basketball tournaments, known as March Madness, are still scheduled to proceed but will limit attendance to staff and family. Some major college teams have withdrawn from the tournament including Kansas University and Duke University.
The SEC announced Thursday it would be suspending all regular season competition. Some schools including Duke and Kansas made similar decisions to suspend all athletic competition.
This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.