March 12, 2020 will be remembered as the day professional sports in North America went silent.
The rapid fire news cycle of coronavirus pandemic-related cancellations was intense Thursday as the National Hockey League decided to join the NBA, and numerous other sports leagues, in announcing the suspension of its current season.
No more wicked wrist shots. No more big glove saves. No more dropping the gloves. No more hockey, at least for the foreseeable future, or until further notice as the league stated in its announcement.
Let’s face it, the writing was on the wall.
There was no way the NHL, or any other event or attraction that brings thousands of people together in an arena for three hours, was going to proceed with its season — with or without fans in attendance.
The liability concerns over potential exposure to COVID-19 made it unrealistic for the NHL to continue on with its season as is, and playing games in empty arenas is not an option because the league is so dependent on gate receipts.
Frankly, the league was painted into a corner and had no other option but to suspend the 2019-20 season.
The question now is, for how long, and if — or when — the season does restart, do the teams pick up where they left off or will the league start into the playoffs?
Remember, travel plans and hotel stays will all need to be re-booked and the NHL will have to coordinate its schedule with what the NBA is going to do because many teams in both leagues share arenas, like the Toronto Maple Leafs and Toronto Raptors, for example.
At the end of the day, we are in uncharted territory.
Not to use a well-worn sports cliche, but I guess we’ll just have to proceed day-by-day.
The funny thing is, sports has a special history of bringing people together but it is for that very reason why sports has to shut down.
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