March 12, 2020
It will be a day that will be remembered for a long time – March 12, 2020 – as Corona-virus fueled events, a Trump travel ban and a Russia/Saudi Arabia crude oil price war – combined to decimate financial markets, and force cancellations of almost all professional and many amateur sporting events.
After the NBA announced the postponement of their season, followed by US President Donald Trump’s ban on travel from Europe (UK excepted) into the USA last night, and the meltdown on financial markets this morning, one hockey organization after another across North America announced today either the postponement or outright cancellation of play starting immediately.
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman announced the league’s decision to postpone regular season play this morning.
Shortly after, an announcement from Hockey Canada head, Tom Renney, followed suit.
The CHL – governing body of Canada’s three major Junior leagues, WHL, OHL and QJMHL, soon afterward placed the remainder of the regular season and playoffs on pause.
Later in the afternoon, BC Hockey, the body that governs all minor and junior hockey in British Columbia, confirmed that all their programs were being cancelled, including BCHL, CSSHL and provincial minor hockey playoffs.
Here are the major announcements verbatim:
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman:
National Hockey League Pauses 2019-2020 Season
“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 2019‑20 season beginning with tonight’s games.
“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. 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.
“We will continue to monitor all the appropriate medical advice, and we will encourage our players and other members of the NHL community to take all reasonable precautions – including by self-quarantine, where appropriate. Our goal is to resume play as soon as it is appropriate and prudent, so that we will be able to complete the season and award the Stanley Cup. Until then, we thank NHL fans for your patience and hope you stay healthy.”
Hockey Canada Statement in Response to CoronaVirus (COVID-19)
The following is a statement on behalf of Hockey Canada from Tom Renney, chief executive officer, and Scott Smith, president and chief operating officer, on the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
“Without question, this is an unprecedented period of difficulty for the sports world. The health and safety of all participants in sport, including players, coaches, staff, officials, fans, family, volunteers and the general public, is of the utmost importance to Hockey Canada.
After much consultation with the Hockey Canada membership, our chief medical officer and public health officials, the Hockey Canada Board of Directors has made the decision to cancel all Hockey Canada-sanctioned activities, including our national championships, until further notice, effective Friday, March 13, 2020.
We recognize the tremendous effort that has been put forth all year by individuals across the country as they participate in Canada’s game. Although it is difficult to process the hockey season ending abruptly, we feel this is the best course of action in order to do our part in keeping our country safe.”
CHL Statement: 2019-2020 paused until further notice
The Canadian Hockey League and its three regional leagues, the Ontario Hockey League, Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, and Western Hockey League, take the health and safety of our players, fans, volunteers, staff, and general public very seriously.
CHL President Dan MacKenzie with Commissioners David Branch, Gilles Courteau, and Ron Robison have been monitoring the situation in regards to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) including what local, provincial, and federal health agencies have recommended.
Following consultation with medical professionals and meetings today among the CHL Executive Council, and regional league Board of Governors, the CHL announces that the balance of the 2019-20 season and all hockey activity shall be paused immediately until further notice.
BC Hockey Statement – from Barry Petrachenko, CEO, BC Hockey
The BC Hockey League Board of Governors announced today that the remainder of the BCHL season has been cancelled until further notice due to recent concerns regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.
The decision was made by Hockey Canada to cease operations of all events and activities and this mandate is being supported by all organizations across Canada.
“Given the growing trend associated with the virus, we are supporting Hockey Canada’s recommendation,” said Graham Fraser, Chairman of the BCHL Board of Governors. “We believe it is in everyone’s best interest to follow their lead in this situation.”
The second round of the BCHL Playoffs was slated for this weekend with all four series starting on Friday night.
“This unprecedented situation is not something any of us thought we would be dealing with, but unfortunately it’s now a reality,” said BCHL Commissioner Chris Hebb. “In the interest of public safety, we believe this was the only choice that could be made and we fully support Hockey Canada’s decision to suspend operations. We wish our players, staff and fans all the best during this difficult time.”