While COVID-19 continues to spread throughout the NHL (the Hurricanes had another player, Stefan Noesen, added to COVID protocol Saturday), the NHL and NHLPA have agreed not to pause the season for the time being.
However, due to concerns about Canada’s travel restrictions, the league and PA have agreed to suspend cross-border travel from Dec. 20 through the league’s holiday break from Dec. 24 to Dec. 26.
That means the Hurricanes’ game in Ottawa scheduled for Thursday will be postponed. It’s the third postponement for the Hurricanes this week, with Sunday’s home game against Nashville and Tuesday’s game in Boston postponed due to COVID issues for the Predators and Bruins.
The Hurricanes’ next scheduled game is now Monday, Dec. 27 against the Florida Panthers.
The official statement from the league and PA follows:
NEW YORK/TORONTO (Dec. 19, 2021) – Following several days of meetings with their respective medical experts amid increasing positive test results and rising numbers of postponed games, the National Hockey League (NHL) and National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA) today jointly announced the following:
i) We will continue to play the 2021-22 regular-season schedule. Although there has been a recent increase in positive COVID test results among Players, coaches and hockey staff, there have been a low number of positive cases that have resulted in concerning symptoms or serious illness. Therefore, the NHLPA’s and NHL’s medical experts have determined that, with virtually all Players and Club hockey staff fully vaccinated, the need to temporarily shut down individual teams should continue to be made on a case-by-case basis. The effects of recently introduced enhanced prevention and detection measures will be evaluated daily. The NHL and NHLPA, along with their medical experts, will be monitoring not only the number and pattern of positive COVID results, but also the depth of Club line-ups so as to ensure both the health and safety of the Players and the integrity of League competition.
ii) Due to the concern about cross-border travel and, given the fluid nature of federal travel restrictions, effective on Monday, all games involving a Canadian-based team playing a U.S.-based team from Monday, Dec. 20 through the start of the Holiday break on Dec. 23, will be postponed and rescheduled. Those additional postponements include:
Monday, Dec. 20:
Montreal @ NY Islanders; Anaheim @ Edmonton
Tuesday, Dec. 21:
St. Louis @ Ottawa; Vancouver @ San Jose
Wednesday, Dec. 22:
Montreal @ NY Rangers; Winnipeg @ Dallas; Edmonton @ Los Angeles
Thursday, Dec. 23:
St. Louis @ Toronto; Carolina @ Ottawa; Montreal @ New Jersey; Anaheim @ Vancouver;
Edmonton @ San Jose
(a full list of NHL postponements to date can be found on the League’s media site)
iii) Given the disruption to the NHL’s regular-season schedule caused by recent COVID-related events – 27 games had been postponed as of Saturday and at least 12 more will be postponed through Dec. 23 – and the continued uncertainty caused by the ongoing COVID pandemic, the NHL and NHLPA are actively discussing the matter of NHL Player participation in the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, China, and expect to be in a position to announce a final determination in the coming days.
With the number one priority of maintaining the health and safety of our NHL community, and amid changing and unpredictable conditions, we are determined to remain flexible and adaptable both in terms of scheduling and in adjusting Protocols as necessary.