After the NHL decided to pause their season on Thursday due to the coronavirus outbreak, Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly announced that clubs are expected to remain in their home cities until play resumes.
Players will likely be allowed to go see their families in the initial point during the pause.
Daly added that he expects there to be a time coming up where teams can resume off-ice workouts and skates in groups, similar to what players do in August and early September just prior to their teams’ start to training camp.
From Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly on next steps for players during this pause. pic.twitter.com/dNaIEacItg
— Ryan Rishaug (@TSNRyanRishaug) March 13, 2020
The league will not make it mandatory for players to get tested for the coronavirus unless they show symptoms or get ill.
The NHL doesn’t recommend that players participate in informal skates like they do prior to training camp for right now. Once training is resumed and the next phase comes, the players’ activities will be subject to the protections afforded in his Standard Player Contract.
NHLPA Executive Director Don Fehr tells @john_wawrow and me there will be a memo going out to players later today telling them to stay home but be around cities and be available. Team facilities could reopen in a few days.
— Stephen Whyno (@SWhyno) March 13, 2020
Commissioner Gary Bettman gave no timetable for when the league will return from its hiatus on a phone call with the AP’s Stephen Whyno and NHL.com’s Nick Costonika but is optimistic that they will and a Stanley Cup champion will be named. “Nobody knows how long the hiatus may be. … This isn’t an independent determination. We’re going to have to rely on others as to when it’s safe, which is why people can speculate but nobody can predict with certainty.”
“This is a rapidly evolving situation and there are a lot of unknowns and we’ve got to make sure that we understand all the ramifications of everything that’s coming at us and how we respond,” he continued.
Bettman added that no NHL players or employees have tested positive to the coronavirus to his knowledge. Though, he did say “It wouldn’t surprise me if somebody isn’t feeling well and self-quarantining. It wouldn’t surprise me if somebody has been tested and is waiting for results.”
On teams playing in empty arenas when the league returns, Bettman said “I’m not ruling anything in and I’m not ruling anything out. This is still too fluid.” He added that he might have a better idea in a few weeks.
By Harrison Brown