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NHL, NHLPA agree to pause season from Dec. 22 through Dec. 25

The Blackhawks were scheduled to play on Thursday, Dec. 23

Nasvhille Predators v Chicago Blackhawks - Game Two Photo by Bill Smith/NHLI via Getty Images

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:

Similar reports have followed from Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman and ESPN’s Emily Kaplan.

[UPDATE] The NHL made it official:

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.