Christmas is coming early for the NHL, but not in a pleasant way.
Multiple media reports have surfaced in the last hour stating that a rising number of positive COVID-19 cases across the league will lead to a brief pause of all league activities, starting on Wednesday, Dec. 22 and running through Christmas Day. The league was already shutting down for its usual holiday break after the Dec. 23 slate of games, but that break is apparently starting sooner this year.
Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli had the first report:
Sources tell @DailyFaceoff: #NHL, #NHLPA have agreed to suspend all operations for Dec. 22-25 and will re-open team facilities on Dec. 26 no earlier than 2pm local time. No practice, no testing during those days.— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) December 21, 2021
Tuesday’s 2 remaining games will be played - pending test results.
Similar reports have followed from Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman and ESPN’s Emily Kaplan.
[UPDATE] The NHL made it official:
The @NHL and @NHLPA have agreed to begin the Holiday Break after Tuesday’s games. Practices will resume on Dec. 26 and the League’s regular-season schedule will resume on Dec. 27. https://t.co/0Bmu8dlZ1M pic.twitter.com/JHbxtzMX6D— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) December 21, 2021
The Chicago Blackhawks were scheduled to face the Dallas Stars on Thursday night at the United Center, but that game won’t be played then. The Blackhawks next scheduled game is on Tuesday, Dec. 28 at home against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Chicago has been largely spared from any serious COVID-19 issues thus far, although Tuesday’s game against the Florida Panthers had already been postponed. Earlier on Monday, the team announced that defenseman Calvin de Haan had been placed in the league’s COVID-19 protocol.
MEDICAL UPDATE: Defenseman Calvin de Haan has been added to Covid-19 Protocol and is out of activity at this time. #Blackhawks— Chicago Blackhawks (@NHLBlackhawks) December 20, 2021