Rocketing covid cases force NHL to begin Christmas break early
The NHL will shut down for Christmas after two games Tuesday due to rising covid-19 cases.
The National Hockey League will begin its Christmas break early due to coronavirus-related postponements.
The league announced Monday that it will pause games for five days beginning Wednesday, with the schedule set to resume December 27.
With that move, the final games before the break are set for Tuesday, with the Washington Capitals visiting the Philadelphia Flyers and the Vegas Golden Knights hosting the Tampa Bay Lightning.
The other eight games set to be played Tuesday already had been postponed due to covod-19.
Four of the five games scheduled for Monday also were postponed, with only the Dallas Stars-Minnesota Wild game taking place.
The early break will officially wipe out all 19 games scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday, all but five of which already had been called off.
Players are now set to report back to their teams on December 26 for testing, practice and travel. All members of a team's travelling party must have a negative covid-19 test before entering a team facility upon return.
Monday's decision came a day after the league said it would pause all games that involved cross-border travel between the United States and Canada, in addition to multiple individual teams being shut down due to positive covid-19 tests.
"With the number one priority of maintaining the health and safety of our NHL community, and amid changing and unpredictable conditions, we are determined to remain flexible and adaptable both in terms of scheduling and in adjusting protocols as necessary," the league said in a statement Sunday.