The NHL has announced that the Dallas Stars’ regular season will be delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Dallas Stars season had originally been scheduled to start Thursday, Jan. 14 in Florida, with the first of a back-to-back against the Florida Panthers before traveling to Tampa Bay on Jan. 17. Unfortunately, Dallas’ facility was closed Friday after reports surfaced that the organization had been dealing with a COVID-19 outbreak.
The reigning Western Conference Champs reportedly have six players and two staff members who tested positive for the virus.
In compliance with league rules set back in December, players will remain unidentified. Once the regular season officially begins on Jan. 13, the league will announce the positive test results of players and coaches.
The league also announced that the Dallas Stars would not compete until Jan. 19 at the earliest. Per Elliotte Friedman, the three affected Stars games to start the regular season are subject to being rescheduled.
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) January 8, 2021
Dallas is not the only team seeing some early season COVID struggles. The Columbus Blue Jackets have also held a plethora of players off the ice “out of caution,” signaling what’s become the new normal in professional sports and life in general.
The NHL created a pair of bubbles last summer, which were widely successful in completing the season. While playing in the bubble, no player or staff member tested positive. Still, it’s apparent that the upcoming season — despite it being shortened from its usual 82 games to 56 — will still endure an abundance of various challenges.
The NHL opted to realign its divisions to limit travel, along with the seven Canadian teams making up the “North Division” to limit cross-border travel.
The Dallas Stars finished 2020 fourth in the Western Conference with a record of 37-24-8 before they were ultimately eliminated in the Stanley Cup Finals by the Tampa Bay Lightning in six games.