Timeline: How the coronavirus outbreak has rocked the hockey world

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Amid the continued outbreak of coronavirus, major national leagues and international competitions have taken various measures and precautions to prevent further spread of the virus and protect the safety of the athletes, personnel and public. Find below a timeline of events in reaction to coronavirus from across the hockey world, dating back to the International Ice Hockey Federation’s decision to cancel four Challenge Cup of Asia events on Jan. 31:


March 12, 2020

• The NCAA has announced that remaining winter and spring championships have been cancelled. This marks the first time in the history of the men’s and women’s national championship tournaments that a winner will not be crowned. The men’s tournament was slated to be played in Detroit. The women’s tournament was scheduled to be played in Boston. [More]

• Following the NHL’s lead, the AHL announced the suspension of play “until further notice.” [More]

• The CHL announced that all hockey activities across its three leagues, the WHL, OHL and QMJHL, will be paused effective immediately. [More]

• The NHL has announced it will “pause” the 2019-20 campaign with the goal of resuming and completing the campaign. Said commissioner Gary Bettman: “Our goal is to resume play as soon as it is appropriate and prudent, so that we will be able to complete the season and award the Stanley Cup.” [More]

• In a statement, the NHL Players’ Association called the temporary suspension of play an “appropriate course of action.” The statement continued: “The NHLPA will continue to closely monitor this very dynamic situation and remain in daily discussions with the league, our medical consultants, and our players regarding all aspects of this matter. The players are looking forward to the opportunity to resume play in front of hockey fans everywhere.” [More]

• With the NWHL’s Isobel Cup final slated for March 13, the league announced it has postponed the game in light of the coronavirus outbreak. Despite the postponement, the league stated it is “determined to present the Isobel Cup final that the Pride, Whitecaps and the fans deserve.” [More]

• Switzerland’s top leagues have cancelled the remainder of their respective campaigns, and the Swiss Ice Hockey Federation announced the additional cancellations of the remainder of the campaigns in U20 and U17 leagues, as well as the women’s league, senior leagues and youth leagues. [More]

• The KHL announced that the final opening-round playoff game between Spartak Moscow and Dynamo Moscow was to be played to an empty arena. [More]

• Sweden’s SHL will postpone its playoffs until March 24. All best-of-seven series will become best-of-fives. [More]

• The Finnish Ice Hockey Association is expected to make an announcement regarding next steps Thursday evening. [More]

• The Czech League has postponed play until March 29. [More]

• The Danish League has cancelled the remainder of its season. [More]

March 11, 2020

• The NBA announced the suspension of its season, prompting the NHL to release a statement indicating it was evaluating its options and would release further update March 12. [More]

• Bans on mass gatherings in Columbus and San Jose resulted in the Blue Jackets announcing remaining home games would be played in empty arenas. The Sharks announced games through March 31 would not be open to non-essential personnel. [More]

• The Norwegian League, Polish League and Slovakian League have cancelled their seasons. [More]

March 10, 2020

• Germany’s top leagues, DEL and DEL2, announced they will cancel the remainder of the campaign and not crown a league champion. The decision was made as a result of the ban on events with more than 1,000 spectators. The playoffs were slated to begin March 11 with pre-quarterfinal contests. As a result of the cancellation, DEL will send its top four teams – EHC Red Bull Munich, Adler Mannheim, Straubing Tigers and Eisbaren – to the 2020-21 Champions League. [More]

• The Austrian League announced its season has been cancelled. [More]

March 7, 2020

• After surviving the initial round of March cancellations, the IIHF announced the Women’s World Championship will, indeed, be cancelled. In a statement, IIHF president Rene Fasel said it “was not an easy decision to make, as we were greatly looking forward to hosting this tournament in Canada. Nevertheless, the decision has been made due to safety concerns for the well-being of players, officials, and spectators.” Pending approval by the IIHF congress, the 2021 Women’s World Championship will be awarded to Halifax and Truro, N.S., which were set to host the 2020 event. [More]

• In addition to the cancellation of the top division event, the IIHF announced the Women’s World Championship Div. I Group A in Angers, France. [More]

March 2, 2020

• The IIHF has cancelled four men’s U18 events and two women’s tournaments amid the continued outbreak of coronavirus. The cancellations include: the 2020 U18 World Championship Div. II Group B in Sofia, Bulgaria; U18 World Championship Division II Group A in Tallinn, Estonia; U18 World Championship Division III Group A in Istanbul, Turkey; U18 World Championship Division III Group B in Kockelscheuer, Luxembourg; Women’s World Championship Division I Group B in Katowice, Poland; and Women’s World Championship Division II Group A in Jaca, Spain. [More]

• Switzerland’s top leagues, National League and Swiss League, have announced the playoffs will be postponed. [More]

Feb. 28, 2020

• Kyrgyzstan has announced that the World Championship Division IV competition slated for March 3-5 is cancelled.

Feb. 26, 2020

• The Asian Ice Hockey League cancelled its playoff final “due to concerns about the spread of the new coronavirus infection in Japan and overseas.” [More]

Feb. 24, 2020

• The Professional Women’s Hockey Players Association announced the postponement of the Tokyo stop on the ‘Dream Gap Tour.’ The three-game series against the Japanese national team was part of the PWHPA’s spring schedule. The PWHPA plans to work with the Japanese national team to reschedule the games and add them to the 2020-21 calendar. [More]

Jan. 31, 2020

• After consulting with participants, organizers and the IIHF’s Medical Committee, the IIHF has cancelled the U20 Challenge Cup of Asia and U20 Challenge Cup of Asia Division I in Bangkok, Thailand, as well as the Women’s Challenge Cup of Asia and Women’s Challenge Cup of Asia Division I tournaments in Manila, Philippines. [More]

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