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Saturday, January 22, 2022

NHL will start Christmas break early, postpone 5 games due to COVID

by Stephen Whynow and John Varro

The NHL is starting a leaguewide shutdown on Wednesday amid a surge in positive COVID-19 test results among players, and the schedules of 10 of the league’s 32 teams have already been halted and their facilities closed.

The league announced on Monday night that it would open its annual holiday break two days ahead of schedule and last until Saturday. The decision, reached in coordination with the NHL Players Association, means five additional games scheduled for Thursday will be postponed, bringing this season’s total to 49.

The two games scheduled for Tuesday are still going to go as scheduled. Teams will report back for COVID-19 testing and practice on Sunday, a day before games resume. Players and members of the traveling party of each team will be required to test negative before being allowed back to their respective facilities.

Two of the Sharks’ games this week against the Vancouver Canucks and the Edmonton Oilers were postponed on Sunday as the league halted games requiring cross-border travel.

The decision to start the break early comes a day after the NHL and the NHLPA issued a joint statement declaring they were attempting to avoid a leaguewide shutdown by deciding on a team-by-team basis. The holiday was earlier scheduled to run from Friday to Sunday.

Of the 49 games postponed, 44 have happened over the past two weeks with Delta and Omicron variants spread across North America.

Read Also:  More COVID crisis: NBA postpones Raptors-Bulls, Nets-Blazers
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