The National Hockey League has announced its intention to suspend the 2019-20 season amid growing Coronavirus concerns.
The Tampa Bay Lightning was set to take the ice on Thursday evening for Pride Night against the Philadelphia Flyers. Regrettably, this was simply not meant to be. The National Hockey League announced they would be putting a pause on the season amid the growing concern surrounding the Coronavirus.
This has definitely been a crazy season for the Tampa Bay Lightning. After an incredibly rough start to the season which left many fans scratching their heads in disbelief, the Lightning finally seemed to get themselves back on track and even set a new franchise record for themselves.
Then, the injuries started to set it. The most significant of the aforementioned injuries has been the one to Lightning captain Steven Stamkos. Stamkos will be forced to miss 6-8 weeks following a surgical procedure to repair a core muscle injury.
Providing the captain’s recovery went according to plan, this would mean he would be forced to miss the remainder of the regular season and potentially much of the first round of the postseason, should the Lightning secure a spot. As a result of recent events, the circumstances me be changing a bit.
In a statement released by the National Hockey League, Commissioner Gary Bettman advised the league had been in contact with medical experts regarding the situation and felt they made the best decision for everyone involved; players, fans, and arena staff alike.
“In light of the ongoing developments resulting from the Coronavirus, and after consulting with medical experts and convening a conference call of the Board of Governors, the National Hockey League is announcing today that it will pause the 2019-20 season beginning with tonight’s games.”
The League’s decision really doesn’t come as a shock. Prior to the decision by the NHL, the NBA had already made the decision to pull the plug on the season in order to help slow the spread of the disease. Since then, the MLB, NCAA, and MLS have all made similar decisions.
Heck, even the House of Mouse has elected to cease operations. Both Disneyland in California and Walt Disney World in Orlando will be joining the already closed Shanghai and Tokyo Disney properties in closing through the end of the month.
The good news here is it doesn’t look at if the NHL season is going to be canceled altogether. In the statement released by the league, they advised their intention is to “resume play as soon as it is appropriate and prudent, so that we will be able to complete the season and award the Stanley Cup.”
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So, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel for hockey fans here in the Bolts Nation and the rest of the hockey world. It’s no doubt these are scary times, but if we all remain vigilant, we can get through this together.
For more information about COVID-19, visit the CDC’s website or the website for your state’s Department of Health.