On Thursday, March 12 the National Hockey League suspended play following the National Basketball Association’s decision to put their 2019-20 season on hold. This news sparked a chain of other cancellations, worldwide relating to sporting events, tournaments, events and large group gatherings.
The NHL announced that its players would not be allowed to leave their teams’ home cities, while also not participating in practices, team meetings, workouts or individual training sessions. Players have also been advised not to train at home while remaining in isolation, as individual contracts and health/insurance coverage may not include home activity.
The American Hockey League followed suit shortly thereafter, moments before the Canadian Hockey League (the governing body of the Western Hockey League) also announced a stoppage in play. Thus meaning the Manitoba Moose, the Brandon Wheat Kings and the Winnipeg ICE have all seen their seasons put on pause for the foreseeable future.
Once news of the NCAA’s decision to cancel the remainder of the 2019-20 calendar year was announced, Junior hockey across Canada was also cancelled. U-Sports, the MJHL, MMJHL, KJHL and CRJHL all announced the conclusions of their seasons alongside Hockey Canada’s announcement that all minor hockey in Canada has come to a conclusion.
AAAA high school provincials, AAA U18 and U17 finals, AA, A1 and all other levels and ages of hockey within Canada has been cancelled for the remainder of the season. Luckily for the members of the Manitoba Women’s Junior Hockey League, the final game was underway Thursday evening by the time of Hockey Canada’s announcement, allowing the event to continue. After already seeing the best-of-five cut back to a best-of-three, the Western Predators proved victorious over the Polar Ice, two games to one.
With no end in sight, the spread of COVID-19 has put a halt on all major sporting activities, and has implemented the conclusion of nearly all minor sports within Canada and the United States. The National Hockey League’s Board of Governors held two conference calls on Thursday, and another two on Friday to help draw conclusions as to appropriate conduct and behaviour for NHL players during this time of uncertainty. More information, along with new mandates and rules is expected to be announced within the next 24 hours.