Things escalated quickly in the sports world Wednesday night. Just ahead of tip-off in a National Basketball Association game between the Utah Jazz and Oklahoma City Thunder, officials learned of a positive test of COVID-19 coronavirus for Jazz player Rudy Gobert. Just a short time later, the NBA released a statement that it was suspending the remainder of the league’s schedule.
The NHL reacted by releasing a statement that they would wait to make their announcement on Thursday, clearly wanting more time to assess the situation before making a major decision.
The league has announced that it will be following suit, shuttering the league indefinitely, stating they they hope to return and that the situation is fluid.
The Montreal Canadiens were already set to be one of the first NHL teams to be affected by the virus, with their road game versus on the San Jose Sharks on Thursday, March 19 set to be played with no fan attendance. There are 11 games remaining in the Canadiens schedule, with four of them to be played at the Bell Centre.
NHL teams previously cancelled morning skates around the league. The AHL’s Laval Rocket also cancelled their practice on Thursday.
The AHL has followed the NHL’s lead and has suspended play effective immediately.
Earlier on Thursday, the Quebec government banned events with more than 250 people.