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pittsburgh penguins, NHL protocol

There are 1200 cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in the United States but the worldwide pandemic reached a tipping point on Wednesday as actor Tom Hanks announced he and his wife have the virus, and the NBA suspended its season after Utah Jazz player Rudy Gobert preliminarily tested positive. Wednesday afternoon the Columbus Blue Jackets announced fans would not be allowed to attend the game against the Pittsburgh Penguins, and there was to be an NHL statement on its future, as well.

Reports initially indicated the NHL season would cautiously continue, but the NHL punted their decision until Thursday with the following statement:

“The National Hockey League is aware of the NBA’s decision tonight to indefinitely suspend its season due to a player testing positive for the coronavirus. The NHL is continuing to consult with medical experts and is evaluating the options. We expect to have a further update tomorrow.”

Most NHL teams have between 12 and 14 games remaining in the regular season with the playoffs scheduled to begin in mid-April. Various reports suggested several options were being discussed including pausing the regular season or canceling the rest of the regular season with play to resume in the playoffs when feasible.

The NBA season suspension was swift and surprising. Read more about it here. 

PHN will have immediate updates as soon as they are available. Read more on the outbreak here. 

The progression on Wednesday was quick. The Columbus Blue Jackets initially refused to ban fans from their Thursday night game against the Pittsburgh Penguins, but later on Wednesday afternoon, they acquiesced to Ohio Governor Mike DeWine who asked sporting events and large events be canceled. The game is currently scheduled to be played but without fans in attendance. 

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Pittsburgh Hockey Now Editor-in-Chief, formerly 93.7 The Fan, Sportsnet Hockey Tonight, NHL Home Ice. Catch Dan tweeting @theDanKingerski and the official @pghhockeynow account.

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