The National Women’s Hockey League has announced it will be suspending their 2020-21 season in Lake Placid due to COVID-19.
The NWHL and the Olympic Regional Development Authority (ORDA) have agreed, due to new positive COVID-19 tests and the resulting safety concerns for the players, their respective staff & the community that the remainder of the 2021 NWHL Season in Lake Placid have been suspended.
— NWHL (@NWHL) February 3, 2021
NWHL To Suspend Season
There was a lot of promise heading into the 2020-21 season for the NWHL. They added a sixth team in Toronto named the Toronto Six, who have taken the league by storm. The NWHL also announced they were going to have a two-week tournament inside a “bubble” inside Herb Brooks Arena in Lake Placid, NY. However, over the past weekend, things have started to unravel inside the “bubble” for the NWHL. It all started last week when the Metropolitan Riveters announced they were pulling out of the bubble due to COVID-19 concerns. After the games were paused to fix the schedule for the remaining five teams, the Connecticut Whale, who played over the weekend, pulled out of the bubble prior to their game on Monday night.
According to those close to the bubble, there were new additional positive tests. Not only that but the Riveters, Whale and Minnesota Whitecaps all shared a hotel.
Information that’s relevant: Metro, Connecticut and Minnesota all shared a hotel. Metro and Connecticut both pulled out of the bubble.
— Marisa Ingemi (@Marisa_Ingemi) February 3, 2021
Now for the second time in less than a year, the NWHL will be suspending play as they were trying to award the Isobel Cup. There are a lot of people questioning the league right now. Especially in regards to how could something like this happen in a bubble?
Where Did It Go Wrong?
For starters, the bubble the NWHL said they wanted to have for the season, was not a true bubble. Teams were allowed to add once the tournament began. And some players arrived after several games were played. This is not a bubble in the sense of the word. As we saw with the NHL and especially the 2021 World Juniors, players had to test negative in order to be allowed in. And in the case of the World Juniors, you had to test negative before you left and nobody was allowed in or out. While there some positives cases in the WJC bubble it was prior to the tournament starting.
Not only that but teams were using the same trainer sometimes. And what was more concerning is that trainer was around two teams the Riveters and the Whale, but of whom left the bubble because of COVID-19 concerns. Just like the NHL fiasco with the Devils, this is a mess women’s hockey did not need.
What the Future Holds
As for now, the tournament will not be played in Lake Placid. Who knows if the tournament will be played at all. But the NWHL is pulling the plug on the season for now. Who knows if they are able to finish it. This was a tough decision for the league to make with their semifinals and finals being broadcasted on NBCSN this weekend.
Stay tuned for more as things develop.
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