The Dallas Stars’ season has been delayed after six players and two staff members tested positive for COVID-19.
The team will not be able to resume play before January 19.
Dallas would have otherwise opened the regular season on January 14 and 15 with two road games against the Florida Panthers, followed by two road games against the Tampa Bay Lightning on January 17 and 19.
“Those individuals are self-isolating and following CDC and League protocols. As a result of the positive tests, and as an appropriate precaution, the team’s training facilities have been closed, effective immediately, and will remain closed for several days while further daily testing and contact tracing is conducted,” the NHL said. “The League is in the process of reviewing and revising the Stars’ regular season schedule with the expectation that the team will not open its 2020-21 season earlier than Tuesday, January 19.”
The Panthers also noted in a statement that the games were to be rescheduled.
The Panthers, Stars and Lightning are three of the teams that plan on opening the regular season with limited fans in the stands. Florida stated that tickets for the original date of each game would be honoured for whenever the rescheduled contests are.
The Stars did not open doors to media and did not hold team practice Friday, although they did hold practice Thursday.
The Columbus Blue Jackets also announced some players would miss practice due to COVID-19 protocols, holding a limited skate Friday before calling off practice in the afternoon.
It’s up to the NHL to handle COVID-19-related announcements, just as it was during the return-to-play process this past summer, and you won’t see teams releasing specific publicity regarding the pandemic. Teams aren’t allowed to publish names of players impacted by COVID-19.
The NHL is set to begin a 56-game season on January 13 and will use divisional realignment to limit travel and risk. The Stars are part of the Central Division, which includes the Panthers, Lightning, Blue Jackets, Carolina Hurricanes, Detroit Red Wings, and Nashville Predators.
Pic: Dallas Morning News/Ben Torres