The nightmare of the Coronavirus just sucker-punched the Dallas Stars.
The league announced that 6 players and 2 staff members on the Stars tested positive for Covid-19.
Training camp is now shut down, and at least the first 3 games on the schedule are postponed to a later date and time.
We will be looking at what this means for the Stars and the league in general. This could be a disaster waiting to happen as the 2020-21 season is in dire jeopardy.
Today, on Jan. 8, the NHL announced that 6 Stars players and 2 staff members contracted the disease. For what it’s worth, they handled the announcement professionally.
The league had to make it instead of the team because it was an official announcement. This shows that the NHL has good communication between teams.
The Columbus Blue Jackets also had players test positive. With 2 teams testing positive, we will now have to play the waiting game until the season starts on Jan. 13. If more teams have players or staff members test positive, uh oh spaghetti-o.
This scenario also has a double whammy because the Stars are just 1 of 4 out of the 31 teams that will allow fans in arenas this season. This news about Stars players contracting the disease could put fan attendance on hold for the first few home games.
Now you’re asking yourself, what next?
Now we have the possibility of having the season canceled. This is always on the table because no 2 hours are the same. We are in a rapidly evolving news cycle where anything can change. The season is not “set in stone” because anything and everything can turn into a crisis. The Stars will not start the season on Jan. 14 at the Florida Panthers as originally scheduled. Their subsequent 2 road games are also postponed. The first possible game will be on Jan. 19, at the Lightning. Any Stars game at this point will be welcome. Hopefully, and quite frankly desperately, there will not be one single team opting out of the entire season like other minor league hockey teams.
Several American Hockey League teams have opted out of their season. The AHL realignment is unlike that of the NHL’s. The NHL’s minor league affiliate has divisions with 3 teams in them and divisions with 8; if the NHL follows suit with some teams staying in while others opt out, major sad face.
It’s unclear which players on the Stars contracted Covid-19. Some players may come out and say they had it, but it is not the fans’ job to seek out which players contracted it. These players also should not be punished for getting it. It is in everybody’s best interest to mind their own business in this matter and hope for a speedy recovery for these players and staff members.
Fans were looking forward to the season starting, but that is on hold. All of the league may delay the season if more teams test positive. It’s in everyone’s best interest to hope for the safety and well-being of all players and staff members in getting the game that is so loved back on the ice.
Unfortunately, it pains to say that if safety can’t be guaranteed, the season may be canceled or shifted to a bubble format like the 2020 playoffs.
Every hockey fan has genuine causes for concern about the future of this season.
Featured Image: NHL Public Relations