Stars, Blue Jackets Hit With COVID-19 Positive Cases
As the start of the 2021 NHL season approaches, two teams have been hit with COVID-19 cases. In addition to this news, the NHL will face much uncertainty as the season draws closer. Concerns that more NHL teams could be affected by COVID-19 cases are a big possibility. If this happens, this could push the season back.
On Friday, Jan. 8 there were six Dallas Stars players who tested positive for the virus. Consequently, there are two staff members for the team who have also tested positive. Originally, the Stars planned to begin their season Jan. 14 in a match against the Florida Panthers. Now, those plans have changed. The new revised start date for the team’s season opener is expected to be Jan. 19.
Likewise, the Columbus Blue Jackets face a similar situation. It should be noted that the organization will keep a handful of players off the ice, due to safety precautions.
Concerns for the NHL
Certainly the unfortunate cases of the coronavirus will create much concern for the NHL. To clarify, the NHL has many protocols and guidelines each team will be expected to follow to ensure their safety. In addition, the season has been cut down from 82-games to 56. Travel among different states and the United States-Canada border has been restricted by realigning the divisions.
However, it is likely that COVID-19 will present a challenge for the NHL this season. Many teams understand that this virus will create an ongoing problem throughout the season. More COVID-19 cases are likely to arise as we get closer to the season opener.
What the Future Holds for the NHL
At this point, there is a future of uncertainty for the NHL. Of course, each team will follow guidelines and protocols the NHL has implemented to safely execute the 2021 hockey season. But looking at the Stars and Blue Jackets’ situation will force each team to face reality. That the same could happen to their team. It is an unfortunate reality. But it is one that holds true to each respective team.
In 2020 when the NHL season was put to a halt thanks to the virus outbreak, there was a Return to Play plan. The season resumed without any problems of the virus.
On the other hand, things are different this time around. The concern of the virus hitting other teams is a major one to say the least.
Above all, every team is doing what they can to ensure the safety of everyone. But despite this, there is still so much that remains unknown. Nothing is set in stone for any team at this point. Each team has their individual schedules released, but that is not to say that this could change within the coming days, weeks or months as the virus is still a severe and ongoing problem.
Schedules and plans are subject to change, so please make sure to stay tuned to the latest news and information about the upcoming season.