The NHL could only escape for so long. Tonight the Ottawa Senators have announced that one of their players has tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) and is in isolation. The player is experiencing mild symptoms.
According to Hailey Salvian and James Mirtle of The Athletic (subscription required), several Senators players are dealing with symptoms and awaiting test results. The report notes that the Senators team played at the Staples Center in Los Angeles just before the NHL shutdown, which had just hosted the Brooklyn Nets of the NBA, who have had four players test positive for COVID-19 in recent days.
The Senators announced that the team is now notifying anyone who has had close contact with the player in question—whose identity has not yet been revealed—and that the rest of the team has been asked to stay isolated.
This is the first NHL player to test positive for the disease.
If it was contracted in the Staples Center facilities, it shows just how important it was for both leagues to quickly suspend play. After the Senators played on March 11th, there was due another team—be it NHL or NBA—in one of the visiting locker rooms for each of the next 11 days. The Nets, Houston Rockets, Anaheim Ducks, New Orleans Pelicans, Denver Nuggets, Dallas Mavericks, Montreal Canadiens, Utah Jazz, Boston Bruins, Phoenix Suns, Vancouver Canucks and Arizona Coyotes were all on the schedule from March 12th through 22nd, not to mention the Los Angeles Kings, Clippers and Lakers who would all be sharing the playing surface.