The NBA’s first case of coronavirus started a chain reaction among sports leagues across the world.
Once Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19, the NBA suspended its season. It didn’t take long for the rest of the sports world to follow suit, and the NHL paused its season a day later Thursday.
According to NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, Gobert’s diagnosis changed everything.
Bettmen on Friday called into NHL Network to discuss what led up to pausing the season, via Helene Elliot of the Los Angeles Times.
According to the commissioner, the league planed to complete the season playing without fans in arenas until realizing two NHL teams recently had shared a locker room with the Jazz. This increased the likelihood of an NHL player testing positive for COVID-19, forcing the NHL to pause its season, as well.
The NHL issued a memo to its teams and players with instructions for how to proceed during the hiatus, and Bettman still believes the league will crown a Stanley Cup champion for the 2019-20 season.