Aside from making it a little too easy to “spread” Christmas cheer, the sports world in particular has been getting its ass kicked up and down every time zone. You know shit is bad when NBA teams are using hardship exceptions to sign emergency players to fill out their rosters and John Starks hops off his mobility scooter to trot his ass out onto the court.
But while most sports leagues are fighting tooth and nail to keep their seasons afloat, the NHL is waving the white flag and suspending operations temporarily due to COVID-19 concerns, per ESPN—which is probably a good idea since more than 15 percent of its players are in the league’s health and safety protocols.
The NHL will pause its season on Wednesday, two days before its planned Christmas break, the league announced Monday evening.
All NHL team facilities will be closed from Wednesday through Saturday as the league tries to weather several COVID-19 outbreaks. Players are set to report back to team facilities on Sunday and resume daily testing. The NHL schedule is set to resume on Dec. 27.
If you’re a hockey fan, I regret to inform you that this decision leaves only two games on the league’s schedule prior to its break. The Washington Capitals and the Philadelphia Flyers are set to go to war on Tuesday, and the Tampa Bay Lightning and Vegas Golden Knights will do the damn thing on the same day.
Thankfully, there’s only one player in the NHL who isn’t vaccinated: Detroit Red Wings forward Tyler Bertuzzi. Then there’s former San Jose Sharks forward Evander Kane, who went peak Antonio Brown and was stupid enough to get his ass suspended for 21 games for using a fake vaccination card.
“I would like to apologize to my teammates, the San Jose Sharks organization, and all Sharks fans for violating the NHL COVID protocols,” Kane said in a statement back in October. “I made a mistake, one I sincerely regret and take responsibility for. During my suspension, I will continue to participate in counseling to help me make better decisions in the future. When my suspension is over, I plan to return to the ice with great effort, determination, and love for the game of hockey.”
Is it possible that other sports leagues will follow the NHL’s lead and suspend operations too? Possibly. But in the interim, do your part, get vaccinated (and boosted), wear a mask, and be safe in these streets, y’all.