Major League Baseball and National Hockey League to Suspend Play Due to Coronavirus

They join the NBA and MLS in suspending all games and matches

Empty sports stadium
An empty MLB ballpark in Los Angeles, California.
John McCoy/Getty

In the wake of the NBA suspending its season and a host of other professional sports leagues and organizations postponing games or making other changes, Major League Baseball and the National Hockey League are suspending play, according to ESPN and MLB insider Jeff Passan.

Though MLB has yet to make a formal announcement, Passan reports the decision was reached after a conference call among owners on Thursday afternoon and that it’s a “formality” it will happen.

With spring training suspended, the league likely will be forced to delay the beginning of the regular season as well.

Players already seem to be aware the move is coming.

On the NHL side of things, the league started prepping for a play stoppage on Thursday morning when it advised all teams to cancel morning skates, practices or team meetings.

The league has been preparing to play games later this month with no spectators, but now the games will not be played at all.

“In light of ongoing developments resulting from the coronavirus, and after consulting with medical experts and convening a conference call of the Board of Governors, the National Hockey League is announcing today that it will pause the 2019‑20 season beginning with tonight’s games,” commissioner Gary Bettman said in a statement. “The NHL has been attempting to follow the mandates of health experts and local authorities, while preparing for any possible developments without taking premature or unnecessary measures. However, following last night’s news that an NBA player has tested positive for coronavirus – and given that our leagues share so many facilities and locker rooms and it now seems likely that some member of the NHL community would test positive at some point – it is no longer appropriate to try to continue to play games at this time.”


Major League Baseball has confirmed that spring training is canceled for the time being and also said the start of the regular season will be delayed by at least one week. Also, in a move that seemed inevitable, the NCAA’s annual Division-1 basketball tournament has been called off.

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