COVID-19 Is Hitting The Hockey Industry Hard

The virus has disrupted the 2020-21 season in North America.

It has not been a good week for the hockey industry. The COVID-19 outbreak is spreading quickly in the United States and in Canada. The National Hockey League would like to start play by January 1st, 2021 but the owners and players need an agreement. Players on the Columbus and Las Vegas rosters have tested positive for the illness as players on those teams began to prepare for the season. The Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, which has experienced a multitude of problems with COVID-19 in the province of Quebec, had to shut down this week in the Maritimes because of a new set of restrictions ordered by health officials on Prince Edward Island and in Nova Scotia.  Team Canada has shut down its tryout camp for players for the junior national team that is scheduled to compete in the World Junior Hockey Championship tournament in late December and in early January in Edmonton, Alberta. There have been a number of COVID-19 positive tests. The players are off ice until December 6th. Nine other countries are scheduled to participate in that tournament including the United States. The United States-Canadian border is still closed because of COVID-19.

The National Women’s Hockey League will play a two-week schedule in a bubble in Lake Placid, New York. The NWHL will play in a bubble between January 23rd and February 5th with the six teams playing one another in a series of games followed by a semi-final playoff round and a one-game championship series. The NWHL’s plan has to be approved by New York State health officials. The league shut down last March because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The American Hockey League is still planning on starting its season in February. The NHL will not return to a bubble for the 2020-21 season but COVID-19 continues to spread and the hockey world is vulnerable.

I’m Evan Weiner.

New York Islanders goaltender Semyon Varlamov (40) makes a blocker save during second-period NHL hockey game action against the Florida Panthers in Toronto, Saturday, Aug. 1, 2020. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press via AP)