Q&A Regarding Pause in 2019-20 Season
The NHL is providing an updated Q&A to reflect recent developments during the pause in play. We will provide regular updates to this Q&A as information changes.
On March 15, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended against gatherings with 50 people-or-more for a period of eight weeks. How does that impact the NHL’s timeline on determining when the season can resume?
We will continue to monitor developments during the 60-day window prescribed by the CDC. Assuming events are tracking positively, we would hope to be able to begin providing high-level guidance on the potential of opening a Club training camp period roughly 45 days into the period covered by the CDC’s recommendation.
Have any NHL Players tested positive for the coronavirus?
We are aware of two NHL players testing positive for the COVID-19 virus. The Ottawa Senators Players, who tested positive, presented only mild symptoms and are currently in isolation.
What steps have the NHL and Senators taken as a result of the positive test to those Players?
The Senators’ medical staff identified persons who might have had close contact with the athletes during the relevant time period (just before and during the period when the players were symptomatic). Senators’ Players and staff have been isolated and instructed to monitor their health and to seek advice and care, as necessary, from Club medical staff.
The health of the NHL’s Players, fans and community remains the League’s highest priority. The NHL will continue to do everything it can to ensure its players, staff, fans and the greater community remain safe and healthy during this time of uncertainty.
Is the plan to get all NHL Players tested for the coronavirus?
Our medical experts do not recommend mass-testing for all NHL Players. Besides the fact that there would be insufficient testing resources to accommodate such a direction, the medical community does not believe that such testing is medically indicated, or in accordance with the parameters issued by applicable health authorities.
Are NHL Players currently under direction to quarantine?
Yes. The self-quarantine period should continue through and including Friday, March 27, unless a longer period might be required for some Players in accordance with local mandates that could be related to their recent travel.
Must Players stay in their Club cities while the League is paused?
Following the CDC’s recent recommendation, the Players were given the option of returning to their home cities (outside of their Club’s home cities, including outside of North America).
Once the self-quarantine period for Players is over, will they be allowed to resume meeting/skating as a team to stay in shape and prepare themselves for a resumption of play?
At the end of the self-quarantine period — and depending on developments regarding COVID-19 between now and then — consideration will be given to allowing the opening of Club facilities to Players in scheduled and coordinated small groups for voluntary training and Club care.
Will there be any testing for COVID-19 required before the Players return in such a scenario?
If a Player exhibits symptoms or becomes sick and testing for COVID-19 is recommended by Club medical staff, the Player will be tested. We do not anticipate the need to conduct League-wide testing for all NHL Players for COVID-19 prior to their returning to NHL Club facilities.
Has any decision been made regarding whether the remainder of the regular season will be played? Has any decision been made regarding what form the Stanley Cup Playoffs would take?
No. The form and format of resumption of play scenarios will depend entirely on what transpires between now and when we are permitted and able to resume — and, ultimately, on timing and taking into account logistical constraints. We are going to have to be flexible and react to events as they unfold as well as the best medical advice available.
Will games resume in arena venues that are closed to the public?
It is premature to say what the circumstances would be for resumption of play, but we are prepared to follow the direction of relevant health authorities.
If the NHL playoffs go into July and/or August, could there be a shortened regular season next year?
No. We do not anticipate a scenario in our resumption of play format that would endanger or interfere with the League’s ability to stage and execute the 2020-21 NHL season in its entirety.
Have any decisions been made regarding the 2020 Draft or Combine?
At this time, no decisions have been made regarding the timing or format of the NHL Draft or Combine.
How will the League handle Player contracts that expire July 1 in the event the season’s end is delayed?
Any decision we make on the schedule and critical dates calendar during the off-season ultimately will be done in conjunction with the NHLPA and, in that context, the parties will discuss how best to accommodate the resumption of play determinations that are ultimately made.