NHL Chief Medical Officer Calls Restart Date ‘Difficult To Predict’


It’s been two weeks since the NHL paused the 2019-20 season due to the COVID-19 outbreak, though it likely feels much longer to anxious hockey fans.

When the season will resume (should it resume at all) is anyone’s guess. Some players reportedly are interested in a late July-early August restart, but the league hasn’t made any indications about its upcoming schedule.

NHL chief medical officer Dr. Willem Meeuwisse says it’s “very difficult to predict” when play will begin again.

“From a medical perspective, I think we’d have to understand what the risks are for the different groups,” Dr. Willem Meeuwisse told reporters Wednesday, via ESPN’s Emily Kaplan. “What are the risks to the players? What are the risks to the staff that would be required to run an event? And what are the risks to the fans?

“Once we know what those things are, I think we can make a more intelligent decision.”

The NHL on Monday extended the league’s self-quarantine period another 10 days, meaning players and staff will be isolated until at least April 4. But Meeuwisse calls it a “meaningless date.”

“As we get closer to the date, we’re going to have to make decisions as to what to do then. We’re biting this off in chunks,” Meeuwisse said. “… It’s difficult to predict where the pandemic is going and what the timeline will be, but we do expect this is going to get worse before it gets better.”

For now, hockey fans will have to practice some patience.

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