Hockey events aren’t immune to being canceled in reaction to the coronavirus. The NHL and other hockey organizations continue to react to a situation that hasn’t been easy to contain.

The IIHF announced that the women’s world championships has been canceled, via the AP. That event was scheduled to take place on March 31. The IIHF alone has canceled six tournaments that were originally planned to happen in March or April.

People have discussed the possibility of sports events — hockey included — taking place in front of empty arenas. As you can see in this CNBC interview with Florida Panthers owner Vincent Viola (also embedded above), the league is resisting such a decision for the time being. Viola indicates that the preference would be to postpone/delay competition, instead.

But this is an ongoing situation, as Gary Bettman mentioned earlier this week.

“We’re aware of what’s happening in other places in the world, and we understand that things may evolve or change, and we also understand that we’re going to have to react to it in a professional and timely and sensible basis,” Bettman said, via “But I don’t think, as we sit here today, people should get too far ahead of themselves in terms of how they either react to this or report this. Let’s see how it all evolves.”

Recent developments aim to limit certain interactions.

Keeping media out of sweaty locker rooms? Check.

Starting today, @NHL will close dressing rooms to media, on recommendation of Centers for Disease Control (@CDCgov) in effort to stop the spread of coronavirus. NBA, MLB + MLS are expected to follow. Media availabilities will be conducted in formal press conference area.

— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) March 7, 2020

The AP also notes that the NHL recommends that players limit their interactions with fans. One suggestion, also relayed to the NBA, is to lean toward “fist-bumps instead of high-fives.”

(Maybe keep your hockey gloves on?)

As much as the league hopes to avoid overreactions, one also hopes that any risks are as calculated as possible. With that in mind, this bit from the AP seems a bit troubling:

The Ottawa Senators’ road game against the San Jose Sharks on Saturday night remains on schedule despite a recommendation to cancel large gatherings in the county where the arena is located.

Ultimately, this might just be the beginning of the coronavirus inspiring hockey events to be canceled.

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

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