One week into the NHL’s pause, coronavirus scare rages on

Mar 13, 2020; Denver, Colorado, USA; A general view of the Pepsi Center where the game between the Colorado Avalanche and Vancouver Canucks was cancelled after the postponement of the NHL season due to the COVID-19 coronavirus. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

It’s only been a week, but feels like a month, since fear of spreading coronavirus led to the “pause” of the NHL season.

The Avalanche were commencing a four-game homestand Wednesday, March 11, hosting the New York Rangers with an opportunity to keep pace with or pass the St. Louis Blues for first place in the Western Conference.

Yes, that was just eight days ago. But what a whirlwind of a week it’s been.

Thirty minutes before the 8 pm puck drop—around the time the Avs and Rangers took the ice for the pregame warmup—the NBA announced the suspension of its regular season after word came out that Utah’s Rudy Gobert tested positive for coronavirus.

The conversation quickly shifted toward the NHL and the possibility it would follow suit. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman announced that night that the league would reassess its opinion on the situation. The following day, the NHL announced its pause.

Like the rest of the sports world, the NHL is stuck in uncertainty. When can the league resume play? Will the regular season be cut short? How many teams will make the playoffs and how many games will they play?

It’s safe to say there is a lot to be decided. But the forefront of the conversation remains the health and safety of players, personnel, and spectators.

For the Avalanche’s sake, it’s hard to escape the reality that their organization has probably, in some way, been exposed to coronavirus.

On Wednesday, Kroenke Sports & Entertainment, owner of the Avalanche, Denver Nuggets, and the Pepsi Center, announced that an employee tested positive for coronavirus. KSE said the associate, who worked in the “back-of-the-house” area (away from customer interaction), is feeling better and is in self-isolation.

The news came one day before the Nuggets announced that a member of their organization tested positive for coronavirus. It is unclear if that person is a player or staff member.

KSE said the individual began to experience symptoms on Monday and is under self-isolation and the care of the team’s medical staff.

As of Thursday, the only confirmed positive case among the NHL is a member of the Ottawa Senators.

 

 

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