The NHL’s self-quarantine period will last at least another 15 days through the COVID-19 pandemic.
The league announced on Tuesday that it is extending its self-quarantine recommendation through April 30. It had been scheduled to expire on Wednesday. That brings the NHL’s timetable in step with President Donald Trump’s U.S. self-distancing guidelines through that date.
“The NHL, following consultation with our medical experts, as well as with representatives of the NHLPA, has made the decision to extend the self-quarantine recommendation for NHL players, coaches and hockey staff through and including Thursday, April 30,” the league said in a statement released Tuesday morning. “The self-quarantine had been in place through April 15.”
The NHL season was placed on pause on March 12 — a day after the NBA did so — with 189 total regular-season games remaining to be played in addition to the playoffs.
Initially, the NHL issued a self-quarantine recommendation through March 27. This is the second time it has been extended.
Eight unidentified NHL players have been announced as testing positive for the coronavirus — five from the Ottawa Senators and three from the Colorado Avalanche.
The NHL continues to express hope that the season will resume., Commissioner Gary Bettman has said in two recent television interviews that many different scenarios are being considered and that nothing has been ruled in or out.
That includes sequestering league personnel at one neutral site to play games.
“The fact is, when you’re in the position that all of us are in, you have to be prepared to re-launch when the opportunity presents itself,” Bettman told CNN’s Anderson Cooper on Monday. “You can’t rule out any conceivable alternative. And [you must] be prepared on every one, even if some of them ultimately turn out to not be realistic.”
Bettman previously said on NBC Sports Network that it still might be weeks before the NHL is able to make any decisions about the continuation of this season.
Los Angeles Kings defenseman Drew Doughty said on a conference call on Monday that he does not believe the season will resume.
“Honestly, I don’t see how the season is going to return,” he said. “I would think the NHL or whoever would make the decision would have to make some kind of decision on that soon. And it seems like it’s going to be pretty tough to resume the season or playoffs.”
Bettman has said the NHL is willing to play deep into the summer, but the league does not want to jeopardize being able to play a full 2020-21 season.