The American Hockey League is suspending their season until May, at the earliest, while the NHL says they are at least 60 days away from resuming play.
Update from the NHL regarding player activity and movement during season pause: pic.twitter.com/yeFjII7W49
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) March 16, 2020
— AHL Communications (@AHLPR) March 16, 2020
The statements come amid a time that sports around the world have come to a halt over the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Our objective will be that, in addition to continuing regular updates, we will be able to provide high-level guidance on the potential of opening a training camp period roughly 45 days into the 60-day period covered by the CDC’s directive,” the league said in a statement, adding players are being allowed to return home — wherever in the world that is.
“Players should continue to report immediately any symptoms or testing results to club medical staff,” the NHL said. “At the end of the self-quarantine period, and depending on world developments between now and then, consideration will be given to allowing the opening of club facilities to players in scheduled and coordinated small groups for voluntary training and care of the players on the same basis as in the off-season.”
These statements are the most significant from any of the pro hockey leagues in terms of how long we are away from seeing hopeful returns to action. As the NHL mentioned, there will be a mini-camp before games resume which would allow players to get their legs underneath them.
The suggestion from the league of a mid-May return to action means we could be seeing some of the latest games the NHL has ever seen. We are, after all, in unprecedented times here.
The league has also requested teams look into stadium availability all the way into July in hopes of maximizing on what a playoff window could look like.
On Twitter: @zjlaing