In a joint announcement on late Thursday afternoon, the Ontario Hockey League announced the suspension of the 2019-20 regular season due to COVID-19.
The Canadian Hockey League held a meeting on Thursday to determine the best course of action going forward.
After the meeting, the three leagues announced that “following consultation with medical professionals and meetings today among the CHL Executive Council, and regional league Board of Governors, the CHL announces that the balance of the 2019-20 season and all hockey activity shall be paused immediately until further notice.”
In a phone interview late Thursday afternoon, Soo Greyhounds general manager Kyle Raftis said there isn’t a timeframe set on when teams could get back on the ice for games.
“There’s a lot up in the air,” Raftis said, adding that the team hasn't decided on whether the players will remain in Sault Ste. Marie for the time-being or return home.
The Greyhounds were en route to Kitchener for a game against the Rangers on Friday night but returned to Sault Ste. Marie following the decision by the league.
In a release, the OHL also announced on Thursday that the annual OHL Cup minor midget tournament has been cancelled.
The OHL released a statement regarding the decision on Thursday regarding the decision.
Following is the full text of the OHL’s statement:
Since the start of the spread of Coronavirus/COVID-19, the OHL and GTHL have closely monitored the rapidly evolving situation with a view to the health and safety of players and their families, team and league staff, on and off ice officials, fans and the general public.
The OHL and GTHL today announced that they have made the difficult decision to cancel this year’s OHL Cup.
On behalf of the OHL and GTHL we would like to recognize and congratulate all of the players and coaches who earned an opportunity to participate in the OHL Cup, team staff, families and tournament volunteers who have put in endless hours preparing for the tournament.
The OHL and GTHL are committed to ensuring a safe environment for all participants and feel that this is the most prudent decision for all involved.
COVID-19 continues to have an affect on various sports leagues and international events as well.
Bob McKenzie of TSN reported shortly before 3 p.m. Thursday that International Ice Hockey Federation president Rene Fasel confirmed to him the Under-18 World Championship scheduled for late-April in Plymouth and Ann Arbor, Mich. has officially been cancelled.
McKenzie also reported that Fasel said the potential for other IIHF tournaments in April being cancelled is high.
The NHL announced on Thursday afternoon it was suspending action for the time being in the wake of COVID-19.
Other pro sports leagues that have adjusted their schedules because of the virus include the NBA, MLB, and the National Lacrosse League.