NHL Running Into COVID-19 Restrictions In An Attempt To Start The 2021 Season

Teams may be barred from playing.

The National Hockey League is hoping to drop the puck for its 2021 season opener on January 13th. But COVID-19 has gotten in the way of the plans. The San Jose Sharks probably cannot have training camp in Santa Clara County, California because of COVID-19 restrictions. There seems to be a massive COVID-19 related hospital problem in the Los Angeles area although there is no word on whether the Kings training camp would be impacted. But now there is an even bigger issue. Canada may not want NHL teams in the country going from city to city playing in a Canadian division. The NHL may have to send its seven Canadian teams to play in the United States.

The statement from Canadian health officials that came out was something that the league’s Commissioner Gary Bettman and the 32 team owners and the players association probably did not want to hear. “The Government of Canada’s priority is to protect the health and safety of Canadians. The resumption of sports events in Canada must be undertaken in adherence to Canada’s measures to mitigate the importation and spread of COVID-19. NHL teams and other professional sports teams must operate within the rules of their provincial jurisdictions for sports or sporting events.” Bettman said earlier this week, “Right now, we’re focused on whether or not we’re going to play in our buildings and do some limited traveling or play in a bubble, and that’s something we’re working on and getting medical advice on.” There was a report that Bettman did seek the advice from Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Dr. Fauci recommended that the league start the season in hub cities in a bubble. The NHL is running into medical roadblocks in its quest the get the season underway.

(Jason Franson/The Canadian Press via AP)