(Reuters) – The National Hockey League (NHL) has advised its 31 teams to refrain from holding morning skates, practices or meetings on Thursday while it considers how best to deal with the coronavirus threat.
The NHL move came a day after the National Basketball Association (NBA) suspended its season until further notice after a player tested positive.
“Given the uncertainty regarding next steps regarding the coronavirus, clubs are advised not to conduct morning skates, practices or team meetings today,” the NHL said.
After the NBA suspended its games the NHL, whose Stanley Cup Playoffs are scheduled to begin in early April, said late on Wednesday it would consult with medical experts and expected to have a further update on Thursday.
The NHL, which has 24 teams in the United States and seven in Canada, has reportedly scheduled a 1 p.m. ET (1800 GMT) Board of Governors conference call on Thursday.
The Columbus Blue Jackets said on Wednesday, after learning an order prohibiting mass gatherings in Ohio was forthcoming, that they would host the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday in an empty arena.
If the game were to take place, it would be the first major league sporting event in North America played without fans because of the coronavirus.
The San Jose Sharks also said on Wednesday they would adhere to a Santa Clara County ban on large events and play their three remaining homes games this month without fans.
(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne)