In the big scheme of things the NHL season doesn’t really matter in the larger scope of a national (and international) crisis in light of the coronavirus pandemic. The Center for Disease Control issued a statement on Sunday night that with the NHL season in mind doesn’t sound very promising. At this point the officials are advising eight weeks of postponement/cancellations for gatherings of 50+ people.
Even without a crowd a hockey game features 20 players and 3-4 coaches a side. Add in four on ice referees and a couple of off-ice officials and that’s well over 50 right there before even considering equipment staff, trainers, the folks who operate and maintain the ice and arena and all the other necessary people to produce a hockey game.
NHL insider Bob McKenzie chipped in with a bit of insight on what that might mean in the focus of the hockey world:
For anyone who thinks this hiatus of, well, just about everything is going to be quite temporary, this would suggest the best-case scenario may be at least two months. Eight weeks today is May 10.
Officially the NHL has only used the word “pause” for their season suspension. It’s very much a wait-and-see situation for all of us in all walks of life. We know the NHL has at least planned to explore the availability of buildings into July. Even if the playoffs could start of May 10th, that would mean going deep into July before the Stanley Cup was awarded. Based on Gary Bettman’s comments, we know that a conclusion to the season is what the league will hope can happen. Whether or not that will come to pass remains unknown right now.