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The NHL has suspended the 2019-20 season

Panthers three points out of a playoff spot as league pauses due to COVID-19 outbreak

2018 NHL Global Series Finland-Winnipeg Jets vs.Florida Panther Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images

National Hockey League Commissioner Gary Bettman has released the following statement regarding the 2019-20 NHL season:

“In light of ongoing developments resulting from the coronavirus, and after consulting with medical experts and convening a conference call of the Board of Governors, the National Hockey League is announcing today that it will pause the 2019-20 season beginning with tonight’s games.

“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. However, following last night’s news that an NBA player has tested positive for coronavirus – and given that our leagues share so many facilities and locker rooms and it now seems likely that some member of the NHL community would test positive at some point – it is no longer appropriate to try to continue to play games at this time. “We will continue to monitor all the appropriate medical advice, and we will encourage our players and other members of the NHL community to take all reasonable precautions – including by self-quarantine, where appropriate. 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. Until then, we thank NHL fans for your patience and hope you stay healthy.”

The Florida Panthers were scheduled to the play the Dallas Stars tonight at American Airlines Center.

Florida currently has 13 games remaining on its schedule and is three points behind the Toronto Maple Leafs for third place in the Atlantic Division.

While this is most likely it for the 2019-20 season, the situation is fluid and the league hasn’t ruled out the possibility of resuming play at some point and bringing the season to a conclusion.