SAN JOSE (CBS SF) — Hours after the National Basketball Association put its season on hold after a player was confirmed to have contracted coronavirus, the National Hockey League sent out word Thursday to the San Jose Sharks and the league’s other teams that it would also pause their season. Later Thursday both Major League Soccer and Major League Baseball announced they were also putting a hold on their seasons.
“In light of ongoing developments resulting from the coronavirus, and after consulting with medical experts and convening a conference call of the Board of Governors, the National Hockey League is announcing today that it will pause the 2019-20 season beginning with tonight’s games,” Commissioner Gary Bettman said in a statement.
The league cited that with so many NHL teams sharing facilities and locker rooms with NBA teams that it “now seems likely that some member of the NHL community would test positive at some point” and that it is “no longer appropriate to try to continue to play games at this time.”
COMPLETE COVERAGE: CORONAVIRUS OUTBREAK
Hours earlier, the NHL posted on social media, “Given the uncertainty regarding next steps regarding the coronavirus, Clubs are advised not to conduct morning skates, practices or team meetings today.”
MLS Commissioner Don Garber said Thursday the suspension of MLS activities was effective immediately as the league continued to assess the impact of the COVID-19 virus.
“Our clubs were united today in the decision to temporarily suspend our season – based on the advice and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), and other public health authorities, and in the best interest of our fans, players, officials and employees,” said MLS Commissioner Don Garber in a prepared statement.
Shortly after noon PT Thursday, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred announced a delay in the opening of the 2020 regular season by at least two weeks, and that Spring Training games were to be canceled as of 1 p.m. PT.
Manfred also said the 2020 World Baseball Classic Qualifier games in Tucson, Arizona had been postponed indefinitely.
Late Wednesday, the NBA halted its season after star Utah center Rudy Gobert tested positive for the coronavirus. Officials said they would take the time while all games — including the Golden State Warriors contests — are suspended to consider when the games would begin again and what others changes need to be made in operations in the wake of the growing corornavirus outbreak.
Before the NHL paused the season, the Sharks had announced Wednesday that due to the concern over the virus spread, games at the SAP Center would have been played without fans in attendance. The Sharks, who have a 29-36-5 record going into Thursday, have 12 games left in the season.
The announcement by the team’s ownership group, Sharks Sports & Entertainment, followed a decision by Santa Clara County health officials prohibiting gatherings of more than 1,000 people in the county. The order has since been superceded by an order from Gov. Gavin Newsom that limits any non-essential gathering in the state to no more than 250 people.