On Thursday afternoon, the NHL announced it has suspended its season until further notice in light of the Coronavirus/COVID-19 outbreak.
The NHL is not the only league to have suspended its season for the same reasons. They join the NBA and MLS, as well as several European soccer leagues, MLB for spring training and the NCAA in regard to various conference tournaments.
The Blue Jackets had already made preparations of their own in response to the outbreak prior to the NHL's suspension decision, implementing a home-game ban of spectators on Wednesday afternoon following an Ohio Governor Mike DeWine forthcoming order on "mass gatherings" limitation hours earlier.
"Our goal is to resume play as soon as it is appropriate and prudent, so that we will be able to complete the season and award the Stanley Cup," said NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman in his statement.
There is no definitive plan at the moment for a timeline to resume the season or a playoff format. However, multiple reports have indicated a "day-to-day" evaluation process of the situation, in hopes that the suspension can be lifted sooner than later.
Source on NHL players side thinks best case would be a 2-3 week suspension, a short continuation of a sub-82-game reg. season and then a truncated playoffs with shorter opening series. But playing into July is an option. Again, one person's informed speculation.— Greg Wyshynski (@wyshynski) March 12, 2020
Sources indicate preference is for a short break. No practice for teams. Evaluate day by day. https://t.co/76AuboWHgE— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) March 12, 2020
Ohio currently has four confirmed cases of COVID-19, according to State Dept. of Health director Amy Acton, and 15 people are currently under investigation. To date, 14 people have tested negative for the virus.
We will continue to update this story with new statements from the NHL or any comments from the Blue Jackets organization.
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