UPDATED: 03/12/20 2:20 p.m.
The Tampa Bay Lightning and the National Hockey League are pausing the 2019-2020 season because of the novel coronavirus pandemic.
In a statement released Thursday afternoon, the NHL said “it is no longer appropriate to try to continue to play games at this time.”
The news comes after league suspensions by the NBA, MLS and the suspension of Major League Baseball Spring Training.
“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 2019-2020 season beginning with (Thursday night’s) games,” league officials wrote.
In a release, the Lightning wrote that, "This is obviously a tough and disappointing decision for everyone, but one that is appropriate to prioritize the safety of our fans, partners, players and staff."
"The team will continue to work in consultation with the NHL, as well as with city and county representatives, to monitor the situation moving forward," the Lightning added.
“The NHL has been attempting to follow the mandates of health experts and local authorities while preparing for any possible developments without taking premature or unnecessary measures,” the league said. “However, following last night’s news that an NBA player has tested positive for coronavirus – and given that our leagues share so many facilities and locker rooms and it now seems likely that some member of the NHL community would test positive at some point – it is no longer appropriate to try to continue to play games at this time.”
TSN reporter Darren Dreger added that it’s “ No travel allowed. No meeting. No paractices [sic].” for the NHL.
The Lightning’s season joins the St. Petersburg Grand Prix, NCAA March Madness, USF athletics and Sen. Rick Scott in the bucket of people and events that’ve been negatively affected by coronavirus.
The NHL pauses the 2019-20 season. pic.twitter.com/bCi776ZFqX— NHL (@NHL) March 12, 2020
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