The NHL Has A Big COVID-19 Problem

Three teams have been sidelined, arena restrictions mandates have been issued in Canada.

The National Hockey League has a COVID-19 problem. Local governments in Ontario and Quebec have decided paying customers probably are not such a good idea during the latest COVID-19 outbreak as both Ottawa and Toronto home games will be played at 50 percent arena capacity and fans are not welcomed for games in Montreal. There are reductions in the number of people who can attend Winnipeg Jets and Vancouver Canucks games as Manitoba and British Columbia health officials want to try and stop the COVID-19 spread. Colorado Avalanche and Florida Panthers games have been postponed through at least next weekend, and the Calgary Flames might hit the ice again after some time after Christmas. The NHL did shut down Ottawa Senators games earlier this season because of COVID-19 but for some reason allowed the New York Islanders to play despite seeing the Islanders lose about 40 percent of its playing roster to COVID-19. Eventually the NHL postponed two Islanders games. Carolina is still playing despite an outbreak on the team. There are players on teams who have been placed in COVID-19 protocol.

The NHL has one other COVID-19 problem that other leagues don’t have. National Hockey League players want to take part in the 2022 Beijing Olympics in China which starts on February 4th which is now just a matter of weeks away. The NHL has to make up a number of games that were postponed due to the present COVID-19 outbreak. The NHL will not have any games between February 7th and 22nd. The league could tack on those games after the regular season which was scheduled to end on April 29th or fit them into whatever available dates during the season that can accommodate make up games. More COVID-19 cases could mean that NHL players may not be able to get to the Beijing Olympics.

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The ice at Staples Center is illuminated before an NHL hockey game between the Los Angeles Kings and the Buffalo Sabres, Sunday, Oct. 31, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jayne Kamin-Oncea)