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NHL pause for coronavirus: Frequently Asked Questions

Topics include status of season, players

by Dan Rosen @drosennhl / Senior Writer

There are plenty of questions following the decision by the NHL to pause the 2019-20 season due to concerns about the coronavirus.

Here is an FAQ with information gathered from NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly: 


When can we expect the season to resume?

Commissioner Bettman has said the NHL season will resume when it's "prudent and safe to start back up." 

The League is taking its guidance on the matter from local, state and federal authorities who are in constant contact with medical personnel.


Have any NHL players tested positive for COVID-19?

There are no current documented positive tests from the NHL player community, Commissioner Bettman said. Deputy Commissioner Daly said any player exhibiting symptoms should be tested. There is no need to implement mandatory testing for all players, he said.


Where are NHL players expected to remain during the pause?

The League announced new guidelines for players on March 16.

Effective immediately, players can opt to return home (outside of the club's home city, including outside of North America, to the extent flights are available.

The self-quarantine period should continue within the player's home through and including Friday, March 27, unless a longer period may be required in accordance with local mandates related to travel. Players should continue to report immediately any symptoms or testing results to club medical staff.

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.


What about injured players? 

Players who require rehab and treatment for injuries that had kept them out of games will be directed by their team's medical staff at the team's facilities unless the player and team agree to utilize an alternative approach.  


Are players allowed to work out and train at the team facilities?

All practices, workouts and team meetings have also been put on pause. Deputy Commissioner Daly said the League hopes players will be allowed to return to their team's facilities to work out and skate on a voluntary basis in small groups in the near future. There is no timetable for when that option will become available to the players. Until facilities reopen, players are encouraged to work out at home or outside, but not at public gyms. 


Will the players be paid during the pause?

Yes. Players had three paydays remaining this season at the time of the pause (March 13, March 30, April 15). 


Could the Stanley Cup be awarded after June? 

Commissioner Bettman said the League does not have a set date for when the Stanley Cup must be awarded.


What should fans do if they have tickets to games affected by the pause?

Teams should be in the process of communicating with ticket holders to determine options, including holding on to tickets for games that are postponed, and potentially giving credits or refunds if games are canceled. It's likely that issues with tickets purchased through Ticketmaster or secondary market resale companies such as StubHub will have to be resolved under the policies of those companies.


What return-to-play options are the NHL considering?

Commissioner Bettman said the League is analyzing "every conceivable alternative," but without a timetable for when the season could resume it's hard to determine what the best course of action could be. He said he has an "internal task force" of senior NHL executives who are meeting twice daily to go over every option. The League is also in touch daily with the NHL Players' Association, with Commissioner Bettman and NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr communicating regularly.


Could the season resume with games in buildings that are closed to the general public?

Commissioner Bettman said it was too early to speculate on this topic.


Will the 2020-21 NHL season be impacted if this season extends into the summer?

Commissioner Bettman said the League envisions a full and normal 2020-21 season.

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