The National Hockey League (NHL), along with the NHL Players’ Association, has agreed to postpone five games on Thursday.
The two remaining games on the calendar are to be played on Tuesday; the Washington Capitals vs Philadelphia Flyers and Tampa Bay Lightning at the Vegas Golden Knights.
“There’s nothing we can do about it,” commented Dallas Stars Captain, Jamie Benn, after his 7-4 win against the Minnesota Wild on Monday.
“I think the most important thing is the health and safety of the players and coaches and everyone involved with the organisations. Just taking it day by day. Hopefully the numbers go down and we can get back to hockey after Christmas.”
With no games scheduled Wednesday because of coronavirus-related postponements, the NHL and NHLPA agreed to postpone the five games that remained scheduled for Thursday in order to begin the holiday break effective with the conclusion of games Tuesday.
This brings the total number of games postponed this season to 49, and under the revised schedule, December 22, 23, 24 and Christmas Day are to be off days for all purposes, including travel.
Furthermore, the decision comes one day after the NHL announced the Columbus Blue Jackets and Montreal Canadiens are to be shut down through the christmas break, and that four more games had been postponed.
Cross border games through this period are also being postponed due to the concerns of travel and ‘the fluid nature of federal travel restrictions’.
With the new omicron variant of COVID-19, other sports worldwide are encountering cancellations and restrictions For example, in England’s Championship league, Cardiff City FC’s Boxing Day match against Coventry City has been delayed, and League Two side Forest Green will no longer be playing Newport County.
It has further been reported that in Scotland, the country is limiting the capacity to 500 fans per football match.
The NHL and NHLPA are currently also discussing whether players should participate in the 2022 Beijing Olympics.