According to reports the NHL and NHLPA have agreed to put on pause as of Wednesday, December 22nd, through December 25th (Christmas Day) with teams returning on December 26th, one day earlier than normal so that testing can resume.
Hearing NHL/NHLPA will agree to pause season Wednesday through Christmas Day. Players will return to team facilities on 26th — one day earlier than usual — so that testing can be resumed.
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) December 21, 2021
NHL Season Officially Put on Pause
After a massive spike in cases around the League, NHL and NHLPA have made the decision to put the NHL on pause for the 2021-22 season. However, this was a very tough decision for them to make.
After 44 games have been postponed this season, 39 in the last 7 days with an additional five games being postponed with no play on Wednesday, December 22nd and Thursday, December 23rd, it was in the best interest of the NHL to pause the season through the holiday break (Dec.24-25).
Before the news was announced today, several teams had already had their operations shut down through the Christmas Break. And prior to that announcement, the NHL was trying to play out the season with no cross-border games.
In all, a total of 22 teams — more than half of the league— have either been shut down or voluntarily suspended operations over the last week as the pandemic’s latest wave fuelled by the fast-spreading Omicron variant wreaks havoc.
Unlike last season, the league isn’t providing a daily count of players in COVID-19 protocol. But the number currently stands at roughly 15 percent.
On Monday the league issued a statement as to their reasoning behind postponing games and halting various teams’ operations. saying they were done “due to concern with the number of positive cases within the last several days as well as concern for continued COVID spread.”
The NHL had 55 games postponed last season; all were made up as part of a 56-game schedule.
NHL Season Halted for Second Time Due to Coronavirus
The difference between last season and this season is how many teams are being affected at the same time. Because of this, the NHL has felt it is in the best interest of the players, personnel, and fans, to halt all operations until they can get a handle on the number of current cases.
As it stands, all but one NHL player — Detroit winger Tyler Bertuzzi — is vaccinated against the coronavirus.
The NHL last paused a season back on March 12, 2020, when the Corona Virus first made its way to North America. The NHL had 189 games remaining at that time. The regular season was scheduled to end on April 4, with the Stanley Cup Playoffs starting April 6.
The NHL resumed its season with a Return To Play Plan later that year on August 1, 2020.
For now, it is only a short pause in the season.
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