After a barrage of individual cancelations and teams shutting down due to COVID outbreaks, the NHL and NHL Player’s Association have agreed to extend the Holiday Break, initially scheduled for Dec. 24-26, by two days. Despite only one of five scheduled games being played Monday night, the two remaining games on the schedule for Tuesday night (of an initial schedule of 10 games) are to be played as planned.
The extended break will begin on Wednesday, Dec. 22, and no club activities shall be held until Sunday, Dec. 26, which may only be used for travel, practice or COVID testing, with practices limited to after 2 p.m. local time. Teams who are currently on the road will have to travel home before Wednesday, as travel is also restricted during this time. Upon return to practice, anyone entering the team’s training facilities will need to have a negative COVID test result.
Games will resume on Monday, Dec. 27.
It’s expected that with not only the disrupted schedule, but also concerns about players testing positive for COVID while abroad, will lead to the NHL pulling out of the Olympics and using the break in the schedule for these postponed games. It’s been reported that some arenas have scheduling conflicts, so that might result in additional schedule re-arrangements. Regardless, expect an announcement soon that NHL players will not be participating in the Beijing Olympics.
The San Jose Sharks were already facing an extended break, as cross-border games were shut down earlier this week and both of their planned opponents ahead of the break were Canadian teams. However, the team was still holding practices.