Count the San Jose Sharks as the first NHL team to make a serious move to adhere to regulations regarding the coronavirus outbreak.
The County of Santa Clara Public Health Department announced Monday that there was a ban on public and private gatherings of 1,000 people or more. The ban goes into effect Thursday.
The good news for the Sharks is that they are embarking on a four-game road swing Wednesday and do not have any home games until March 19. That’s when they’re scheduled to face off against the Montreal Canadiens.
The Sharks have five home games to go this season, with three to go this March. The ban covers the remainder of the month, but there’s no telling what happens after that.
The county announced five new cases of coronavirus Monday, bringing the total to 43 in the region.
“What’s going on right now is weird for everybody. I think we’re all confused like everyone,” said forward Joe Thornton said. “To see it kind of hit home puts it all in perspective. We have to all take care of each other. It’s been tough these last couple of weeks.”
The Sharks have some time to evaluate the situation, but it is looking like playing games in an empty SAP Center may well have to be on the table. San Jose will not be making the playoffs this season and there are options to play at neutral sites, but finding the right facilities may be an issue.
The NHL has already joined other major sports leagues in North America in closing their locker rooms to the media. There may be more moves to come as the outbreak continues.
Photo credit: SAP Center/Twitter