The gates are closed inside Rogers Place in Edmonton, Alta., on Thursday March 12, 2020. The NHL has suspended the 2019-20 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (The Canadian Press/Jason Franson)

The NHL, MLB and MLS among latest to suspend seasons due to coronavirus

The National Hockey League announced Thursday that it is pausing the 2019-2020 season due to the health concerns of the COVID-19, commonly known as coronavirus outbreak.

“The NHL has been attempting to follow the mandates of health experts and local authorities, while preparing for any possible developments without taking premature or unnecessary measures,” NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman wrote in a statement. 

“However, following last night’s news that an NBA player tested positive for coronavirus, and given that our leagues share so many facilities and lockers and it now seems likely that some member of the NHL community would test at some point, it is no longer appropriate to to try and continue to play games at this time,” he added.

The pause on the NHL season starts with tonight’s games. The Columbus Blue Jackets were supposed to play against the Pittsburgh Penguins in an empty arena tonight due to the government of Ohio banning large gatherings of people. 

The NHL Players Association said in a Tweet that the decision to temporarily suspend play is “an appropriate course of action.”

Earlier today, the NHL told teams not to conduct any morning skates, or practices in order to reduce the spread of the virus.

The Montreal Canadiens released a statement supporting the decision to pause the season. 

“We take the health and safety of our fans very seriously, and the same standard applies to our players, team personnel and employees,” the team said. 

National Basketball Association

Following the news that a Utah Jazz player tested positive for the coronavirus, the National Basketball League announced last night that it would suspend its season “until further notice,” according to a statement posted on the NBA’s Twitter. 

The Utah Jazz played against the Toronto Raptors on Monday night. In a statement, the Raptors said that “out of an abundance of caution, members of the Raptors traveling party has tested for the virus.” They also said that the players, coaches, and traveling staff have been advised to go into self-isolation for 14 days. 

Major League Soccer

Major League soccer decided to suspend match play for 30 days, effective today, as it explores the impact of coronavirus with public health officials. 

“Our clubs were united today in the decision to temporarily suspend our season, based on the advice and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevent (CDC, Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), and other public health authorities,” said MLS Commissioner Don Garber in a statement. 

FC Dallas midfielder Michael Barrios, right, and Montreal Impact defender Luis Binks race to the ball during the first half of an MLS soccer match Saturday, March 7, 2020, in Frisco, Texas. (Ryan Michalesko/The Dallas Morning News via AP)

According to the statement the league will communicate their plans to continue the 2020 season at a later time. 

Major League Baseball

Major League Baseball just announced that they are delaying the start of the 2020 season by at least two weeks, and suspend spring training games, according to statement from the league on Twitter.

“Nothing is more important to us than the health and safety of our players, employees and fans,” a news release from the MLB said. “MLB will continue to undertake the precautions and best practices recommended by public health experts.”

The season was supposed to start on March 26. 

Formula 1 

This morning, McLaren Racing withdrew from the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix following a positive test of a team member for coronavirus. However it is currently unclear on whether or not the grand prix will still go on as planned as no official announcements have been made.

Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc of Monaco celebrates at finish line after he placed third in the Emirates Formula One Grand Prix, at the Yas Marina racetrack in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Sunday, Dec.1, 2019. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

The Bahrain GP is supposed to to go on as planned on March 22 but without any live spectators at the track. The Chinese GP that was supposed to happen in April has already been postponed. 

Happening in Canada

Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau is in self isolation after Sophie-Gregoire-Trudeau, his wife, started showing some mild flu like symptoms after returning from a trip to the UK. 

As of Thursday, there are 137 confirmed and presumptive cases of coronavirus in Canada. Health officials in British Columbia had reported the first death from the coronavirus, earlier this week.

Both Manitoba and Saskatchewan announced their first presumptive cases earlier today. 

In Calgary, the first Canadian child tested positive for the virus. 

Quebec annouced this morning that it has banned all indoor events with more than 250 people,.

According to the World Health Organization, almost 125,000 cases have been reported in 118 countries and territories. 

With files from CBC News, The Canadian Press, The Associated Press, and Radio Canada International

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