While the KHL is hoping to continue on with their postseason as one of the last leagues standing, even that could possibly be in jeopardy. Today, one of the eight teams still alive in the playoff picture, Jokerit Helsinki, announced that they were withdrawing from the postseason due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and the recent recommendations from Finnish government officials. Team chairman, NHL Hall of Famer Jari Kurri, released the following statement:
These are exceptional times and they call for exceptional measures. The well-being and health of the people and our society is paramount and Jokerit wants to shoulder its responsibility in the matter. We have held thorough discussions with our team doctors and players and together come to this conclusion. It is a very difficult but necessary decision.
Their series against SKA St. Petersburg was scheduled to begin on Tuesday and while Finland has a ban on large gatherings, it was being considered that Jokerit would play their home games without fans in attendance. Clearly, they’ve now opted not to do so.
It will be worth monitoring over the coming days to see if any of the other seven squads decide to follow suit. If that happens, the KHL may have no other choice but to suspend or cancel the rest of the Gagarin Cup playoffs.