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NHL to Shut Down Operations from December 22-25

Photo by Rusty Barton

NHL to Shut Down Operations from December 22-25

The National Hockey League has opted to halt the 2021-22 campaign one day ahead of its scheduled holiday break. Rather than seeing teams go on break from December 24-26, the league will now postpone games scheduled for December 22 and 23 and mandate the players to take the next three days off.

Players will report back to their clubs on December 26, to which they will undergo various tests, practices and travel if need be. No games will be played on Boxing Day, and the regular season schedule will resume the following day on the 27th.

“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 the five games that remain scheduled on Thursday, Dec. 23, in order to begin the collectively-bargained Holiday Break effective with the conclusion of games tomorrow night, Dec. 21,” read a release delivered late Monday night.

Currently, 10 of the NHL’s 32 clubs had already shut down their doors to players for practices and games due to severe COVID-19 outbreaks, while nearly 20 percent of all NHL rosters (118 players) are currently in COVID protocols. 23 teams are currently missing players due to COVID, while five head coaches are currently in the protocols.

Prior to the announcement of the early holiday break, 49 games had been postponed due to COVID-19 outbreaks. 44 of those games have been announced as postponed over the past seven days.

With the NHL and NHL Players’ Association under much scrutiny regarding the hopeful opportunity to have players from the league represent their national clubs at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games, this postponement is likely the last straw at that occurring. An announcement will likely come from the NHLPA prior to the January 10th opt-out date.

Carter Brooks - Associate Editor of Game On Magazine - is a news writer and sports columnist situated in Winnipeg, MB. On top of reading and writing, his favourite pastimes include camping, car-modification projects and coaching hockey. Carter can be reached at carterbrooks1994@gmail.com or on Twitter at @GameOnHockey.

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