The National Hockey League has announced that beginning on Saturday, March 7, NHL team dressing rooms are no longer areas for the general public, local media and or visitation to occur. Upon recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the NHL has agreed to sanction off its players from coming in close contact with members of the media, in fear of the potential spread of coronavirus (COVID19).
This news comes just an hour after the International Ice Hockey Federation agreed to cancel the 2020 Women’s World Ice Hockey Championship, which had been set to begin play from Nova Scotia on March, 31. The IIHF did cancel the 2003 Women’s Worlds due to the threat of SARS. It is expected that the NBA, MLB and MLS will follow suit.
Much like the televised media setup in the third and final rounds of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, media will still have access to the selected players, but this privilege will be significantly limited. Reporters will now be required to file into local ‘media centres’ within arena venues, and congregate in a press conference style, while taking turns asking select players questions following games. There has been no indication as to if this practice will occur following morning skates on game days or following team practices/video sessions.
There has now been 106,000 documented cases of coronavirus (COVID-19). Nearly 59,000 people have since recovered, while 3,567 have perished. Over 100 countries have been affected, with China, South Korea, Italy and Iran taking the cake with over 100,000 cases combined. USA has a reported 377 cases, while Canada has 60.