BOSTON (CBS) — When the NHL suspended its season last week, it was unclear how long that interruption would last. The exact time frame is still, obviously, unknown, but we now know the bare minimum.
Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston reported that NHL players have been instructed to stay in self-quarantine until the end of March. That would of course mean there will be no NHL hockey until at least April.
This is a signficant change from NHL's previous to return-to-play plan. As part of this new directive, it sounds like the league hopes to re-open camps in late April.
— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) March 16, 2020
Even that estimate, though, might be optimistic. Over in the NBA, executives are prepping for the possibility of not playing again until mid-June. In the NHL’s announcement last week, the league said that sharing buildings with the NBA — where multiple players tested positive for coronavirus — was a factor in their decision to shut down the league. That does not tie the NHL to the NBA in all matters regarding coronavirus, but it would seem unlikely for one league to return long before the other.
Previously, NHL players had been instructed to remain in their team’s home city. With any potential return to the ice a long way away, that protocol has changed. The league publicized this memo shortly after the report.
Update from the NHL regarding player activity and movement during season pause: pic.twitter.com/yeFjII7W49
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) March 16, 2020
Commissioner Gary Bettman has said that the NHL plans to resume when it is “prudent and safe to start back up.”