NHL Postpones Games Over Covid For Third Time This Season As Pandemic Shakes Professional Sports


The National Hockey League announced this season’s third postponement of games due to a team Covid-19 outbreak Monday, as rising coronavirus cases in North America continue to rock the professional sports world.

Key Facts

The NHL said in a statement that after six Calgary Flames players and one staff member were placed in the league’s “Covid protocols” in the last day, the league will postpone the team’s games “at least through Thursday.”

At least three Flames games will be delayed, and the Flames’ team facilities will be closed indefinitely due to the “likelihood of additional positive cases in the coming days.

All members of the Flames are fully vaccinated, general manager Brad Treliving said in September, and league guidelines dictate that vaccinated players only need to enter protocols following a positive Covid-19 test.

Key Background

The NHL and other major American sports leagues had largely avoided major Covid-related disruptions this fall, but the NHL became the first league to postpone games due to a Covid-19 outbreak on November 15, delaying three Ottawa Senators games. The NHL’s New York Islanders also faced a Covid-related postponement, missing two games in November. The increasingly prevalent outbreaks coincide with rising Covid-19 cases in the United States and Canada. The seven-day average of new coronavirus infections has risen by 48% in Canada and 29% in the U.S. over the last three weeks, according to the New York Times.


The NBA announced a Covid-induced postponement of its own Monday afternoon, calling off the Chicago Bulls’ Tuesday and Thursday games as more than half of the Bulls’ roster is in the league’s Health and Safety Protocols.

Big Number

Over 99 percent. That’s the percentage of NHL players who are vaccinated against Covid, according to the league’s latest vaccination update provided October 13.

Further Reading

Flames games postponed through at least Dec. 16 due to 7 members entering COVID-19 protocol (The Athletic)

NHL Postpones Games Due To Covid Outbreak—In First For North American Sports This Fall (Forbes)

Everything to know about Bulls’ COVID-19 outbreak (NBC Sports Chicago)

Full coverage and live updates on the Coronavirus

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